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49ers to bring in Minnesota basketball player for tryout

The 49ers are bringing in Bemidji State basketball player Zach Noreen for a tryout at their rookie minicamp. Could he join the likes of Antonio Gates in making the transition to the NFL without college experience? Probably not, but it's a cool story.

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco 49ers will host their rookie minicamp this coming weekend, and we have a rather interesting addition to the tryout group. Bemidji State basketball player Zach Noreen has been invited to try out for the 49ers this weekend. The 6'6, 250 pound basketball player would presumably get his tryout opportunity at tight end. He joins former UNLV/UCLA wide receiver Jerry Rice, Jr. and former Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas among the tryout candidates. The rookie minicamp features draft picks, undrafted free agent additions, second year players that still qualify as first year players, and tryout candidates.

All but the tryout candidates are under contract, or will be soon (some of the draft picks). Noreen comes to town just looking to earn a contract to training camp. He played high school football, but according to the St. Cloud Times article, his only college experience was 15 spring practices with the Bemidji State football team. He had one more semester of school work to do, so the plan was for him to play with the football team as well. That obviously changed once the 49ers talked to him.

The story of the connection is pretty cool. Apparently Trent Baalke, a Bemidji State graduate, was in town to watch his daughter play basketball. He stuck around for the men's game, and Noreen caught his eye. Check out the article above for a few more details.

He is a huge long-shot, but maybe he can follow in the path of Antonio Gates to stardom?! OK, maybe that's a stretch. Gates played basketball at Kent State, and had not played a down of football since high school. He worked out pretty well for the San Diego Chargers, but I think we can all agree he's the exception to the rule.