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Patrick Willis among 3 former 49ers named Hall of Fame Class of 2024 semifinalists

Nov 28, 2023 at 7:46 AM--

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On Tuesday morning, it was announced that former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis has advanced to the semifinalist round for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024. From an original list of 173 nominees, 25 modern-era candidates have been selected.

This marks the third consecutive year that Willis has advanced in the selection process.

Two other former 49ers players, running back Ricky Watters and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, have also made it to the semifinals.

The 49ers drafted Willis from Ole Miss with the No. 11 overall pick in 2007, and he spent eight seasons with the team before retiring after the 2014 season. During his career, Willis earned seven Pro Bowl selections and five first-team All-Pro honors.

Willis finished his career with 950 tackles, 60 tackles for a loss, 41 quarterback hits, 20.5 sacks, eight interceptions, two scores, 53 passes defensed, and 16 forced fumbles. He surpassed 100 tackles in six of his eight seasons and led the league in tackles twice, as a rookie in 2007 and again in 2009.

Named to the NFL All-Decade team of the 2010s, Willis was enshrined in the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame in 2021 and entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

Watters, selected in the second round (No. 45 overall) out of Notre Dame by the 49ers in the 1991 NFL Draft, played 10 seasons in the NFL. The versatile running back played for the 49ers (1991–1994), Philadelphia Eagles (1995–1997), and Seattle Seahawks (1998–2001). Watters was a key contributor to the 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX championship run and earned three Pro Bowl selections (1992, 1994, 1995).

Throughout his career, Watters rushed for 10,643 yards and 78 touchdowns on 2,622 carries. Additionally, he recorded 467 receptions for 4,248 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Boldin, drafted in the second round (No. 54 overall) out of Florida State by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2003 NFL Draft, enjoyed a 14-season career in the NFL. He played for the Arizona Cardinals (2003–2009), Baltimore Ravens (2010–2012), 49ers (2013–2015), and Detroit Lions (2016).

During his career, Boldin amassed 1,076 receptions for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns, earning three Pro Bowl selections (2003, 2006, 2008) and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2003. Additionally, he won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2015.

The current list of 25 semifinalists will eventually be narrowed down to 15 finalists. The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be announced before the Super Bowl.

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