The San Francisco 49ers drafted another player coming off a torn ACL. It sounds like his rehab is going well (not that we'd hear anything different), so he might not necessarily be a full medical redshirt player. It sounds unlikely that he would be a full participant in training camp, but he could surprise us. The most interesting aspect of his conference call might have been his discussion about going to Georgia Tech initially to play baseball. These are all great athletes, but his versatility as an athlete is intriguing.
Congratulations. What are your initial impressions of joining the 49ers and what you're expecting out of yourself?
"Well, I'm just grateful and humble right now. A great opportunity. Glad I get to spend it with my family. I think the 49ers are a great organization to play for, so I'm just excited."
Do you go in expecting not to play in 2015 or do you hold out hope that you can come back at some point during the season?
"I don't have any expectations right now. I'm just going to go in and do whatever the doctors tell me to do and we're just going to take it from there."
Where are you in your rehab?
"I'm about a little over four months out of my rehab right now. I'm starting to get around moving and starting to run around a lot. So, it's feeling a lot better."
What kind of running are you doing?
"Right now just straight line running. No cutting yet."
Have the 49ers told you what to expect or how slow they're going to take it with you?
"No. Like I said before, once I get out there and start talking to the doctors I'm sure I'll know some more."
How familiar are you with WR Anquan Boldin?
"Very familiar. I know he's a big, physical receiver that plays the game the way it should be played. I'm planning on learning a lot from him."
Do you think that's a good comparison? I know that you probably have a little bit more speed than Anquan. Are you as physical as he is?
"I feel like I'm a physical wide receiver. I feel like it's a good comparison. But, I don't really like doing the whole comparison thing. I just like enjoying what each player has to bring to the table."
Why would a wide receiver go to a triple-option system? Why did you go to Georgia Tech?
"I went to Georgia Tech to play baseball. I didn't play football until my last two years. I played my first three years at Tech at baseball. So, I didn't necessarily go to Tech to play football."
What led you to the switch to concentrate on football?
"I had some lingering shoulder issues from baseball which made me lose a lot of velocity on my fastball, a lot of movement. So, I wasn't able to be the pitcher that I wanted to be. I got recruited out of high school to play football at Tech. So, I went over to coach [Georgia Tech football coach Paul] Johnson and he helped me find a spot on the team."
Before your injuries, how fast was your fastball?
"My fastest fastball that I've ever thrown was clocked at 97. But, I was consistently from about 90-93."
Did you get drafted?
"Yeah. I got drafted out of high school in 2010 in the 14th round to the Minnesota Twins."
And why didn't you sign?
"I decided it would be better for me to come to college and develop."
I know you're a pitcher, but I assume as a younger man you played other positions. Does that help you as a receiver, tracking balls, that sort of thing?
"Oh yeah, definitely. I played both ways at Tech. I played outfield too. But, I was mainly a pitcher. I've been playing centerfield since I was a young kid. So, that definitely helps a lot tracking the ball in the air with hand-eye coordination."
Were you a starter or a reliever?
"At Tech I was mainly a reliever."
When did your arm injuries really start to develop?
"I think they started developing kind of the later part of my senior year of high school, all throughout my Tech career. My freshman year at Tech I threw pretty well, still had a little bit of arm trouble. But, it really started showing up my sophomore and my junior year."
What do you know about the 49ers offense? How much time did you spend with the 49ers leading up to this?
"All I know about the 49ers offense is it's a lot different than the offense I ran in college. I won't know anything about it until I get in there and learn it."
And did you spend any time with the 49ers leading up to this?
"No sir. I haven't spent much time with the 49ers."
You obviously didn't run a 40-yard dash. What types of times had you run in previous years?
"To be honest with you, I've never really ran the 40. I always played baseball, so it was always never required. I can't tell you the last time I ran a 40-yard dash. We never did it."
Did you ever run a 60 playing baseball?
"I ran a 60 when I was in my senior year at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. I think I ran like a 6.5."
What's your time home to first?
"I have no idea."
What would you guess would be your 40 time?
"I honestly think with the training and everything, without the surgery I would honestly think it would be in the 4.4s."
It sounds like given your experience with baseball and just coming into football late in college you have a lot of room for growth. Do you believe the sky's the limit as far as what you could accomplish and improve on?
"Oh, yes sir definitely. I felt like my production from 2013 to 2014 shows that 2013 was my first year playing football in four years because I didn't play my senior year in high school. That was kind of like a little warmup year. And then in 2014 I got a full year up under my belt to train and actually work at it. I think that production jump shows. So, I feel like I still have a lot more room to grow."