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A California native, Brady was a highly touted recruit in high school, drawing interest from several top programs before he settled on enrollment at Ann Arbor. However, Brady found himself buried on the depth chart when he arrived at Michigan. He red-shirted in 1995 and threw just five passes in his second season with the Wolverines and 1996.
He once again rode the bench in 1997, when starting quarterback Brian Griese, an eventual NFL draft pick, led Michigan to a share of the Division I national championship. Frustrated, Brady nearly transferred to another school.
“I was looking up at all of these guys on the depth chart who were ahead of me and I thought ‘I’m never going to get a chance here,'” Brady said during a recent interview with Sirius radio host Howard Stern. “So I remember talking to the people at Cal because that was my second choice to go to Berkeley. I was thinking, maybe I should go there because I’d get more of an opportunity to play there.”
Brady finally got his chance to start in 1998 and kept the job for the rest of his time at Michigan. He held onto the role despite intense competition from another top recruit, Drew Henson, who occasionally replaced Brady during games.
Brady was 20-5 as a starter at Michigan. He led the Wolverines to a last-second victory in the 2000 Orange Bowl against the University of Alabama.
The 6-foot-4 quarterback was a virtual afterthought in the 2000 NFL Draft. The New England Patriots selected Brady in the sixth round after several other quarterbacks had already been taken.
At 42, Brady is widely considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He has nine Super Bowl appearances in 20 seasons with the Patriots. He signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.