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Why 49ers rookie Isaac Guerendo sees limited college experience as a benefit

May 9, 2024 at 6:15 PM

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Isaac Guerendo carried the football 132 times during his final collegiate season, rushing for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns. It marked the most carries the Louisville running back had during a single season throughout his college career.

Consistently finding himself behind another running back on the depth chart, Guerendo started only one game in college, which might seem like a negative to some evaluators. However, the San Francisco 49ers were willing to see what the young running back could do at the professional level, making him a fourth-round draft pick.

"I've played with a lot of great backs, been in a lot of great rooms," Guerendo told reporters on Thursday after reporting to the 49ers for the rookie minicamp.

The rookie doesn't perceive his limited experience as a negative. Instead, Guerendo believes it has mentally prepared him for his transition into the NFL, where he will likely find himself behind others, like star Christian McCaffrey, on the 49ers' depth chart.

"A lot of these guys have been the feature guy pretty much since they were young," Guerendo explained. "They were the guy at their high schools, and they were the guy at their colleges. But I think, for me, it kind of gives me a leg up in the sense that what are these guys gonna do when they aren't the starter? How are they gonna handle that? How are they gonna move forward with that?"

Guerendo has already experienced that scenario. However, that doesn't mean he won't strive for playing time.

"I'm going to continue to work hard with whatever it is, but just continuing to embrace that role," Guerendo stated.

The rookie acknowledges that watching from the sideline can be frustrating. Understandably, Guerendo wants to contribute to his team's success. He commented, "But I think if I were to let it bother me, it probably wouldn't allow me to be ready for those moments when I did get them. So I just continued to have that patient mindset so that I could be ready for those moments."

Guerendo also recognizes that fewer carries in college means less wear and tear. This can be advantageous given the workload that NFL running backs often face.

"I like to think of it as a positive more than anything," Guerendo said. "People talk about tread on tires, stuff like that. I think that's an advantage for me. And I think it also kind of leaves out there—I feel like I still have yet to play my best ball. So, continuing to progress and become a better player. I think that's the exciting thing about it. But I'm going to continue to attack and embrace whatever role I'm given."

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