Coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, rookie running back Kory Sheets is eager to prove that he belongs on the 49ers 53-man roster. The former Purdue Boilermaker rushed for 3,341 yards and scored 48 touchdowns over the course of his four-year career. He also ran the third fastest 40-yard dash by a running back at the NFL Scouting Combine, putting up a time of 4.47 seconds. 49ers.com recently caught up with Sheets and discussed his first camp as a professional football player, his running style and his favorite memories of college.**
Q: Now that you've completed the rookie minicamp, what's the camaraderie been like with your fellow rookie teammates?
A: I knew a couple of guys from college award shows and the Combine before I got here, which made things a lot easier. And all the other guys who I didn't know previously seem pretty cool too. We're all learning new stuff so we can all relate to each other.
Q: Did any of the veterans do anything out of the ordinary to welcome you to the NFL?
A: They haven't really done anything like that yet as far as what I've seen. But they were pretty helpful and cool about helping us with the plays. When we did something wrong they were correcting us right away sometimes before the coaches saw it. They were really out there helping us as much as possible.
Q: Speaking of coaches, you worked with running backs coach Tom Rathman during the minicamp, what were your impressions of him?
A: Coming up to the NFL, I've had a lot of different coaches. Some of them you're not too sure about what they're teaching you. But when I got here and started working with coach Rathman, when he told us things, you could tell he knew what he was talking about. He's got two Super Bowl rings to prove it, so I listened to every word he had to say.
Q: What was it like working with the other running backs at camp?
A: Right now it's just a learning process. I think once everyone knows the playbook and is able to go full-speed, I'd say that's when the real competition is going to start. That's when people will be pushing each other and making each other better. But right now all of our focus is on learning the playbook.
Q: What kind of player can fans expect to see when they come out to training camp and watch you up close?
A: I plan on breaking that myth about me being a perimeter guy or a third-down back. I want to show everybody that I can be an every down back.
Q: Was there a running back you tried to emulate and pattern your running style after?
A: Growing up I used to watch Barry Sanders all the time. My high school coach gave me a tape of his highlights and I used to watch that all the time. I used to watch it at least three times a week just to see how he ran the ball. I definitely patterned my game after him.
Q: With your speed and ability to run behind blocks, do you think returning kickoffs and punts is something you see yourself doing in the future?
A: I did a lot of kickoff returns in the past, but I've never return a punt in a game. But I'm looking forward to trying that out here and seeing if I can help out on special teams any way that I can too.
Q: When you look back over your entire college career, was their one game or moment that stood out to you the most?
A: The game that stood out to me was… actually, there were two games. My senior year when we played Michigan I scored four touchdowns, three on the ground and one in the air (receiving). And the other was two years ago when we beat Notre Dame 33-19 at our house. That was also a great memory of mine. My backup went down, so I had to carry the load for the team and we won a big rivalry game.