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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Elijah Mitchell sets 49ers record for most rushing yards by a rookie

Jan 2, 2022 at 3:08 PM--


Running back Elijah Mitchell needed 53 more rushing yards to set a San Francisco 49ers franchise record for the most rushing yards by a rookie. He entered Sunday's game with 759 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on 165 carries through nine game appearances and eight starts this season.

Mitchell gained the yardage needed during the third quarter of the team's Week 17 matchup against the Houston Texans, surpassing the 811 rushing yards by Vic Washington in 1971. Washington accomplished the feat in 14 game appearances while Mitchell did so in 10.

Update: Mitchell finished the game with 119 rushing yards, increasing his season total to 878 rushing yards.

Sunday was Mitchell's first game back since suffering a knee injury during Week 13.

Mitchell has been a pleasant surprise this season. In August, the sixth-round pick was just hoping to show enough on special teams to make the roster.

"Like I said, I'm willing to do anything and everything just to be on this team," Mitchell said in August. "So, [special teams] is going to be one of my roles but also being a running back too."

Mitchell did make the roster. Then, a season-ending injury to Raheem Mostert forced the rookie to become the team's featured back. Mitchell is proving to be more than a role player. He's showing coaches, fans, and opponents that he deserves to be named among the NFL's best young running backs.

"I always had that mindset of coming in and wanting to play, wanting to start, really," Mitchell said last month. "But when I first came in, it was the thought that everybody had, where they're coming in, being drafted. Special teams, that was my one key because I knew we had a deep room and everything. But things happen, so when it was my time, when my name was called, I was just ready to go."

Now, Mitchell is in the 49ers record books, in front of names like Washington, Ken Willard, Roger Craig, and Earl Cooper.

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