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Rookies Follow Davis' Lead

Posted May 13, 2013

Vance McDonald and MarQuies Gray are soaking up as much knowledge as the can from Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis.

After football school practice concluded on Monday, Vernon Davis remained on the practice fields for conditioning. Then he headed into the locker room, changed out of his cleats and into a pair of sneakers and went to the weight room to lift.

Davis' work ethic is a great example for the 49ers rookies, who got their first taste of what a practice is like with the veterans.

"They get an opportunity to contribute, help us out," Davis told 49ers.com after Monday's workout. "We all know what we're trying to do around here, which is get back to the playoffs and possibly play in the Super Bowl again."

Davis made a positive first impression on second-round pick Vance McDonald who admitted he was slightly intimidated to meet the 49ers Pro Bowl tight end.

"I thought it was going to be fierce Vernon, kind of like a stone wall," McDonald said. "First thing, he came up to me and shook my hand and said, 'If you need anything, let me know.' That's just a tribute to the kind of family and team they have here in San Francisco."

McDonald watched every move Davis made during the practice session. Davis leads off during tight end drills and McDonald tried to emulate what he saw from the eight-year veteran.

"He's always attentive," McDonald noted about Davis. "He knows what's going on. That's just a guy who's seasoned. He knows the game. Things like that you can't take for granted. You have to learn from that when you're young."

Davis also liked what he saw from the former Rice tight end during their first practice together.

"I think Vance is a tremendous talent," Davis said. "He's big, he's strong, he moves pretty well to be (267) pounds. I think he's going to help this team out significantly. I say that because of the way he's moving out there. As a rookie, he's doing a great job."

MarQueis Gray has also been watching Davis closely. Davis is helping Gray with his transition to H-back, a  challenging position change for the former Minnesota quarterback.

"The biggest thing is just getting mental reps when you're not in," Gray said "The vets are here and you're their backup. You just have to watch everything they do, learn from what they do and stay in your playbook whenever you can."

In fact, Gray said he's been studying his playbook so much since the start of rookie minicamp that he hasn't even had time to turn on his television at the team hotel.

"We just put in new stuff today so as soon as I get home, I got to stay in that playbook," Gray said. "I've been in it ever since I got here. My TV hasn't even been on. I just have to learn as much as I can so I can get up to speed."

That attitude hasn't gone unnoticed by Davis, who sees potential in his new protégé.

"I think he's going to do a terrific job as he continues to progress and hopefully make this team, which I'm sure he will," Davis said. "He's one of those athletes that can do it. He just has to stay focused and continue to do what the coaches tell him to do."


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