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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers


Jerry Rice expects ‘big things’ from Brandon Aiyuk as the 49ers rookie develops

Nov 10, 2020 at 10:33 AM--


You can understand why San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was so enamored with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk heading into the draft. In fact, so enamored that the team traded up from No. 31 overall, giving up two more selections in the process, to move up to No. 25 to ensure Aiyuk didn't get away.

Aiyuk has shown flashes of what Shanahan saw in him, proving to be as dangerous hauling in passes as he is carrying the football. There were some early comparisons to second-year receiver Deebo Samuel, and one has to wonder what the two might have been able to do together if the injury-ravaged roster had ever been at full strength.

Aiyuk received praise from a Hall of Fame receiver this week. Not just any Hall of Fame receiver. The best to ever play the position.

"He's going to get much better," Jerry Rice told ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "I think, as he gets older, he's going to continue to develop, and I'm expecting big things from him, to be honest with you. Because I think he has everything where he's got the route running, where he's got the hands, that awareness on the football field, and he's one of those guys that he knows he's a playmaker and that he could put points on the board at any time."

It isn't the first time Rice has complimented the rookie receiver. He did so last month during a conversation on 95.7 The Game.

"He's starting to come into his own," Rice told The Morning Roast. "… I think it's just all phases. He can run by you, he can run good routes, he can out jump you. So, when you've got a player like that, you've just got to continue to give him opportunities, which Kyle Shanahan is doing that."

Aiyuk has 28 catches for 371 yards with two touchdowns this season. He also has four carries for 69 rushing yards and two more scores.

Aiyuk is thrilled he landed within Shanahan's offense and considers his head coach a wizard when it comes to play-design.

"From the first snap that I took, just being with Kyle, every time he calls a play, everybody just has complete confidence of what he wants to do, what he is trying to get done when he calls a play," Aiyuk told KNBR listeners last week. "That's a thrill, whenever you hear him call a play that's going to you, you autumnally know and believe that's going to work. So, that's definitely exciting as a receiver or just anybody on our offense, just to know that we feel like every single thing that we can do, and we have, is going to work."

Added Rice via ESPN: "You can tell he's really starting to come in into his own. I'm expecting big things from him -- he's going to continue to grow and get better."





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