Colin Kaepernick's bullet passes and speedy runs have helped redefine quarterback play in the NFL, leading his 49ers to the precipice of football immortality -- Super Bowl 47.
Kaepernick himself is on a road never before traveled by a first-year starting quarterback. And the original pavement was laid here on the fields and courts of pitman high school in Turlock.
"A student of the game, works hard to try to achieve the best of his ability, gives it his all," said his high school basketball coach, Harvey Marable.
A three-sport star and 4.0 student in high school, Kaepernick was heavily recruited to play baseball, not football.
But he'd announced in a fourth grade report that he wanted to be the 49ers quarterback and he refused to let die the dreams of his 9-year-old self.
"Every roadblock he's ever had in his path, he's knocked it down with a considerable amount of force," said his brother-in-law, George Santos. "You tell him he can't do something, he's definitely going to do it."
Family members, coaches, and Turlock teammates are all excited for Kaepernick, but nobody in this town of about 70,000 seems the slightest bit surprised.The athletic ability, work ethic, and intelligence have always been there, they say.
"We thought he was going to do it in one of the sports," said high school football and baseball teammate Spencer Snodgrass. "We didn't know if it was going to be basketball, football or baseball, but we figured that he was good enough to make it in one. And his dream was football and he followed through with his dream."
The "Kaepernick Special" at Main Street Footers is just one sign of the mania gripping Turlock, although they know the spicy dog may not be a favorite for their hometown hero.
"Actually, we heard from someone that he only eats ketchup on his hot dogs," said Footers employee Molly Amant, who spearheaded the campaign to come up with a hot dog tribute to the quarterback.
The Old Tyme Pastries' "Kaep Cookies" have also captured the hearts and stomachs of Niners fans all the way to the Bay.
But for the native son in the number seven jersey, nothing would be sweeter than victory in New Orleans.