San Francisco 49ers

First impressions, notes and quotes from first day of 49ers rookie minicamp

jerry rice jr

Living in San Francisco is great for covering games at AT&T Park — not quite as optimal when you’re heading to Santa Clara and someone’s giant work vehicle is stalled out on Octavia, forcing a ridiculous bottleneck. Long story short, I’m a loser for giving myself only 75 minutes to get to the 49ers’ facility, because I ended up arriving just as Jim Harbaugh’s press conference (which sounded pretty lively) wrapped up.

Most of the liveliness came from Tim Kawakami’s questions about Aldon Smith, and you can read that portion of the Q&A here.

Harbaugh also mentioned that Marcus Lattimore is “working through something” non-knee related, and Jimmie Ward is limited to walk-throughs because he’s still recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. Harbaugh also talked about how undrafted rookie quarterback Kory Faulkner (Southern Illinois) was practicing his footwork in the hallway outside his room at the Marriott.

That brings us to some first impressions of the rookies the 49ers brought out to meet the media today, and we might as well start with the only true quarterback at this minicamp.

Kory Faulkner – quarterback

First impressions: Bearded, talkative

Quote(s) of the day

On practicing at the Marriott:

“When Coach Harbaugh gives me any instruction that I can work on, I definitely want him to see I’m working hard. I’ve got five extra hours to study my playbook.

“I’m not going to (practice footwork) in the bedroom, there’s beds. I went out in the hallway and started doing some footwork stuff. It kept me busy. I’m still not where I want to be, but putting in work outside the practice field for the quarterback is huge. Learning new footwork and applying yourself. I pass time doing hallway drop-backs.”

On the rookie receiver who’s stood out so far:

“I think Bruce Ellington’s pretty talented. He’s definitely someone that if you get the ball in his hands, he’s going to make a lot of plays … He’s a really good football player.”

Marcus Martin – guard/center

First impressions: Doesn’t look his age (20), name will always remind me of a certain Looney Tunes character

Quote(s) of the day

Age ain’t nothin’ but a number:

“One thing Anthony (Davis) emphasizes is age has nothing to do with your ability to play on the field. I’m only 20 years old. He came in as a young man as well, I think his birthday’s in October and mine’s in November. Both of us are able to relate very well and he told me, ‘Don’t worry about your age, just come in and compete.'”

I’ll learn from you, then I’m coming for your job:

“I’m learning as much as I can from Kilgore and the rest of the offensive linemen.”

Dontae Johnson – cornerback

First impressions: Really tall for a corner — a legit 6′ 2″ with his shoes off

Quote(s) of the day

He can’t wait to press his luck, but whammies aren’t allowed this weekend:

“Given the rules we’re not able to press. I’m working on off technique. I’m looking forward to it though … Unfortunately I can’t work on it now in minicamp.”

Uh oh, better not tell Michael Crabtree:

“With my body type, being a longer guy, I try to watch taller guys and pretty much model my game after that, technique-wise … Champ, he’s six foot. Richard Sherman is definitely the big name. Those are the main two I’m looking at for press techniques.”

Jimmy Davenport – long snapper

First impressions: Old for a rookie (almost 29), grandson of former Giants third basemen Jim Davenport

Quote of the day

On his baseball career:

“I was in the minor league system with the Seattle Mariners, some independent ball. (I played) third base, just like my grandfather.”

Jerry Rice, Jr. – wide receiver

First impressions: Looks like he’s 17 years old

Quote of the day

On running “The Hill” with his dad:

“I ran it a couple times in my life. One thing about The Hill, it never gets old. It doesn’t matter how good of shape you are, it still kicks your butt … I think now I’ll be able to catch (my dad).”


And here’s my chance to look back at my old newspaper days. I once covered a Saturday afternoon game between Menlo (Atherton) and South San Francisco, where Rice led the Knights to victory as Menlo’s quarterback. Jerry Rice (the Hall of Famer) was watching from the sideline, and I was completely starstruck. That was back in 2008, before I covered pro sports all the time … however, I’d probably be starstruck now if I was in the same situation.

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