Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New 49ers WR Trent Sherfield impressing coaches, teammates

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 3, 2021 at 4:30 PM--

Step aside, Jalen Hurd. Well, at least for today.

While the 6'5, 220 third-year wideout has been the talk of the fans, especially after suiting up in pads for team activities Tuesday, Trent Sherfield was the man of the moment, as he gained praise for his performance from head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and special teams coordinator Richard Hightower.

Sherfield's main moment came on a 65-yard touchdown off of a deep pass from Trey Lance, who surprisingly joined the first unit for some snaps after Shanahan indicated that would not happen during Monday's press conference.

During Tuesday's practice, Sherfield hauled in five passes during team drills, just behind Brandon Aiyuk's six catches.

Following his performance, Shanahan was asked in Tuesday's press conference about what attracted the team to bring in Sherfield during the offseason and how the wideout has played so far.

"He have such a good reputation for how he plays on special teams. So that's a little where it started. But it's very hard to make our team on special teams if you can't contribute as a receiver. He's a guy who we think can play and has a chance to make this seem just as a receiver. And when you throw how good of a special teams player he is, it makes him very hard for guys to beat out."

Despite the lack of film on Sherfield, Shanahan trusted the word of special teams coordinator Richard Hightower and the team signed the former Arizona Cardinal to a one-year deal.

"Well, that's why [special teams coordinator Richard Hightower] Tower was standing on the table for him for special teams. And he promised me that he was really good at receiver and we believed him. He's telling the truth so far. So we're excited."

In three seasons with the Cardinals, Sherfield played in 44 out of 48 games, catching 28 passes for 340 yards.

Shanahan was not the only one with praise for Sherfield on Tuesday as starter Jimmy Garoppolo lauded the wideout's reliability.

"Yeah, Trent's been very reliable. He really has. He's one of those guys that just you know, we have so much offense in right now, so much of the playbook is installed. We've only got a couple more days of install I think that some guys will get lost in all of it mentally. He's been out there sharp every day. He's on his stuff. And as a quarterback, that's the main thing you could ask for from a receiver. You've got to be on his stuff and in the spot you expect him to be."

Richard Hightower, the coach who pulled for the team to sign Sherfield, had nothing but praise for the receiver as well.

When asked about what appealed to him about Sherfield, Hightower pointed out Sherfield's ability on special teams, as well as his untapped potential at the wide receiver position.

"That's an easy one because we've been playing against Trent. So I appreciate your question. He's one we've been playing against him, having to block him, having to just deal with him in Arizona and him being available. He's a really good player on special teams. I hear he's a good wideout as well. And he wanted to come here and prove that, and he wants to take every opportunity he can to come out and show that he belongs. And really what's crazy about that is you always respect the player from afar, but he's a guy that's in here at 5:30 every morning, that's in the steam room, taking care of his body. He's in the sauna. He does extra. He's a pros pro, he's bringing guys along. There is no secret. Now being around the guy, he fits right into our culture and we're really happy to have him."

While Hightower pulled for the team to sign Sherfield, he also gave credit to the front office for doing its job to make sure that the player would fit the team.

"I can't take credit for [selling the team on Sherfield]. [director of pro personnel] RJ [Gillen] and [general manager] John [Lynch] and their staff, they do a hell of a job with looking at all the offensive tape and all that. I don't watch any of that stuff. So I'm so focused on special teams and what we need to do on special teams, but RJ and those guys that they work with, they watch the tape along with [offensive coordinator] Mike McDaniel and those guys felt comfortable enough to bring him in and let him work as a receiver as well. And he's here to prove that he can play receiver too. He's kind of got that chip on his shoulder, you know? So we liked that. We need him to play receiver. We need him to play special teams. We need him to play everything he can play to help this team."

Apart from his work at wide receiver, Hightower noted how Sherfield is currently on all of the major special teams assignments, expressing his versatility as a player.

"Yeah, he's on all four. I mean, he's on the big four, which are punt, kickoff, punt return and obviously kickoff return and he's on all four of those. And he starts on all four of those right now. And he's trying to prove that he can keep that starting spot. And we've got other guys in the room trying to push him, but, he's a delight to coach. He's a joy to coach and I'm really glad he's here just because other young guys can take a look at him and see, oh, that's what a pro looks like. And those are the kind of guys John and Kyle continue to bring around here, which makes it fun to coach around here."

With coaches and teammates praising the fourth-year wideout, look for him to be engaged as a part of the wide receiver training camp battle heading into the preseason.

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