Rookie QB Dylan Thompson Relishes Opportunity to Learn from Colin Kaepernick

Did you know the San Francisco 49ers signed the top statistical quarterback in 2014 from arguably the best college football conference?

No, you didn't miss any big news. The aforementioned player is Dylan Thompson, a signal-caller from South Carolina who landed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent earlier this month.

As a redshirt senior last fall, Thompson led the Southeastern Conference in passing with 3,564 yards – a school record. He threw for 26 touchdowns as well.

Despite not hearing his name called at the draft, Thompson found himself in a relatively fortuitous situation with the 49ers. He is only the third quarterback on the roster, behind starter Colin Kaepernick and veteran backup Blaine Gabbert.

At the team's recent rookie minicamp, Thompson was the only quarterback on the field, meaning he got a golden opportunity to make a good first impression on the coaching staff.

"He's a collected individual," Jim Tomsula told reporters this month. "He's got those… intangibles. Then you watch the tape. This guy can throw a football around. He spins it. We're excited about him. We really are."

Thompson was understandably disappointed to go undrafted, but that initial feeling soon went away when he signed with the 49ers.

"You're sitting there wondering, 'Am I going to get drafted or not?' You don't really know," Thompson said on Thursday after completing the team's first week of OTAs. "Early on in the process though, I got to talk with (quaterbacks) coach (Steve) Logan and thought this was a great place to learn. And that's the way it worked out. I'm thankful to be here."

Part of the reason Thompson chose San Francisco over other suitors was because of Kaepernick and Gabbert. The rookie wanted the chance to grow under two established NFL quarterbacks.

"Kap and Blaine are really smart guys," Thompson said. "They've been here, and they do things the right way. I appreciate them shedding light on things for me. I'm just trying to learn something new every single day. ... If it's 10 reps a day, I'm just trying to make those 10 reps the best I can. 

"That's the type of situation I wanted to come into if I did end up in free agency."

Of course, it didn't hurt that three of Thompson's offensive weapons from South Carolina were also on the 49ers roster. The quarterback has reunited with his running back, Mike Davis, tight end, Busta Anderson and wide receiver, Bruce Ellington. In January of 2013, Thompson and Ellington hooked up for a game-winning 32-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left to defeat Michigan in the Outback Bowl. 

"That's fun," Thompson said. "To be in a locker room with Bruce again; we've known each other since we were 5 years old. Then Mike and Buster, the past four or five years have been great with those guys. Just great teammates, fun friends, and I'm enjoying it."

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