Player Feature: Ross Dwelley
Dwelley became the seventh player (WR Jamal Agnew, DE Eric Bakhtiari, WR Michael Gasperson, QB Josh Johnson, WR Matt Maslowski and WR John Matthews) from the University of San Diego to make an NFL roster, and the fourth to suit up for the 49ers. Dwelley graduated from San Diego with a degree in industrial systems engineering. “I’ve always had a fascination with space,” said Dwelley. “My education is definitely important to me. I’m really proud of graduating.”
The 49ers worked alongside the humanitarian-relief organization Convoy of Hope on December 4, 2018, and hosted 1,500 guests in need from Bay Area nonprofits and schools at Levi’s® Stadium for a free holiday resource fair. Dwelley and his 49ers teammates distributed groceries, toys, books, shoes and other holiday offerings to the guests. The attendees also received haircuts, utilized health resources and took family portraits or professional headshots. Convoy of Hope is a nonprofit organization that directs children’s feeding initiatives, hosts community outreach programs and provides disaster response resources to those in need in the Bay Area and throughout the world.
The 49ers hosted a flag football clinic for local first responders and their children at the team facility on October 23, 2018. Dwelley and his teammates taught the children the fundamentals of the game before hitting the field for drills and games. The 100-plus guests also had the opportunity to try on equipment and participate in a photoshoot.
Read more about Ross Dwelley by clicking his bio below.
Coach's Corner: Mike McDaniel
This month’s “Coach’s Corner” comes from 49ers Run Game Coordinator, Mike McDaniel.
Can you explain how the run game can set up the passing game for success?
“The run game and the pass game aren’t mutually exclusive. They both work for each other. When the run game is going well, a lot of defenses have to add a player close to the line of scrimmage and that leaves them vulnerable to pass plays and vice versa. If you’re passing the ball well, you get safeties deeper and your run angles and your combinations work better. I’d say they both play off of each other and that’s something that Coach Shanahan has done in his offenses – it’s one of the things he’s best known for.”
The O-line has found success in the run game with a variety of starters this season, how has that unit remained successful through adversity?
“First of all, it starts with the position coaches, the head coach and everyone working to be deliberate, and on it, each and every week. Then it goes to the individuals and how they are studying, how the guys that are injured are helping them study and it’s to the credit to the entire offense working together in unison because it’s not about one player, it’s the sum of the parts, not individual parts.”
What does TE George Kittle bring to the run game?
“George Kittle is starting to get the credit he deserves as one of the best players in run and pass regardless of position. His presence not only makes defenses worried about him in the pass game, but his football foundation started with the run game so he’s a player that we use at the point of attack a ton. When he’s out there, he’s very impactful on the run game in its entirety.
TE Ross Dwelley has played multiple roles in the run game this year, how have you seen him grow as a second-year player?
“Ross Dwelley has developed more in a season and a half – You could put him hand in hand with any player that we’ve ever been around. His attention to detail, how he goes about his daily routine, his studying, is really remarkable. You don’t see tight ends play fullback well in the NFL, let alone a second-year player. His versatility is a testament to himself, his work ethic, how he goes about his business and his dedication to being a professional football player.”
What makes FB Kyle Juszczyk so special as a weapon fullback?
“Kyle Juszczyk is a talented football player that is special because of his commitment. He’s a better athlete than most fullbacks, but on top of that, he might as well be a coach on the field. He has a great football feel and is super dedicated, super smart and doesn’t take anything for granted. If you look at his notes, they are probably more copious than anyone on the team and he knows the offense as well as anyone. His weekly routine allows him to play fast on Sundays and be a weapon in both the run and pass game.”
The run game has had success with every backfield runner this year. What do the 49ers do that allows running backs, wide receivers and tight ends to have success running the football?
“It’s a full commitment from the individual player all the way to the position coach, to the head coach. Anytime you have multiple players having success, it’s because there’s a group commitment. There’s no secret sauce. It’s a day in, day out yearn for getting better by the 30 some players on offense including practice squad, the coaching staff and everyone as a group in its entirety. One of the things that Coach Shanahan has been most proud of is having an offense that works together for a common goal and when you see multiple running backs have success, that’s an example of that.”
To read more about Coach McDaniel, click his bio below.
WON of Us: Candace Hillegas
Candace Hillegas, a student athlete at the University of San Francisco has followed in her grandmother’s footsteps as an avid 49ers fan for life!
I was born a San Francisco 49ers fan! My grandmother was a Season Ticket Holder at Candlestick for many years and one of the biggest fans our family has ever known. She passed that fandom onto my dad who passed the passion for the team onto both my sister and me. We are also all athletes so following a team brings out the competitive spirit and between my sister and I, we have blossomed into our own version of avid fans.
What do you love about WON?
I love that the 49ers are able to empower their female fans through the Women of the Niners program! I often surprise people with my knowledge of the team and the sport in general, so it’s nice to have a group that we can all get together and talk football without anyone being caught off guard because we are women. Not a lot of organizations specifically have opportunities for women to come together to celebrate sports, so I am so grateful that the 49ers have WON.
Get to know WON member Candace Hillegas.
Was there one inspirational moment in team history that confirmed your 49ers fandom?
Like I mentioned before, I have been a fan for life so there isn’t one specific moment that stands out above the rest. I’m only 18, so I didn’t live through “The Catch” or the Super Bowl Championships, but my favorite moment is “The Pick at the Stick.” When Patrick Willis retired, I remember when my sister came in and told me the news. I started crying since he was one of my favorite players. That was the moment when I knew how much I really loved this team.
What 49ers tradition or superstition do you/your family have?
We don’t have any traditions or superstitions that stand out too much but, in our family we are always wearing our favorite 49ers gear on gameday! I have a scarf that I wear every week and my favorite shirt is one that my grandmother gave me from Super Bowl XIX. It has a 49ers miner fishing for a Miami Dolphin!
What impact has the 49ers had on your life? The Football is Family campaign really resonates with our family. My mom is from the Philippines and when she met my dad she knew nothing about football or the 49ers. Since then, she has become another avid fan and is often the one talking about the team and watching the game most intensely. 49ers football just brings our entire family together and inspires us to be our best as they overcome individual and team adversity.
Putting an emphasis on youth football, 49ers PREP presented by U.S. Bank started its programing in 2007 and continues to grow its impact every year. One of the many programs 49ers PREP offers are free Junior Training Camps to various elementary/middle schools and groups throughout the Bay Area. A Junior Training Camp runs for 60-90 minutes, educating participants on non-contact football drills and skills while learning the values of sports and living a healthy lifestyle.
To celebrate an enormous milestone of the 49ers PREP program, 49ers players and staff attended Robert Sanders Elementary School in San Jose, CA to host a commemorative Junior Training Camp on Tuesday, November 19. During this camp, one student represented the 100,000th participant impacted in the Bay Area through this longstanding team initiative, encouraging youth to live a healthy lifestyle, and be active for 60 minutes a day. One of the most memorable parts of the commemorative camp was seeing the excitement on the student’s faces while learning football skills and drills directly from 49ers players, (#88) TE Garrett Celek, (#63) OL Ben Garland, (#60) OL Daniel Brunskill, and (#62) OL Will Holden.
49ers PREP continues to work hard to impact as many children as possible. To learn more about what 49ers PREP presented by U.S. Bank does in the community visit, www.49ers.com/community/49ersprep.
49ers PREP welcomed the 100,000th participant in their free in-school football and fitness program.
Through the Lens
Meg Williams, a team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers, shares her favorite moments covering the 49ers 10-1 start to the 2019 season.
Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time when a big play happens. Other times, a police officer walks right in front of you as George Kittle is crossing the goal line. That’s the beauty of documenting live game action, you can’t really predict what’s going to happen. This frame is right after he crossed the goal line and celebrated in the corner of the end zone. I was able to pan around the obstruction and still make a great photo. My favorite part of this image is the wild look in his eyes. It really personifies Kittle’s personality as an excited, happy, boisterous and always ready to get out there and play his best player. It’s a good reminder that you’re never out of it when you get blocked. It’s about finding a way to still get the image.
This is my favorite wide stadium picture I have taken at Levi’s® Stadium. I typically walk to the top and get pictures of the flyovers and large American flags during the national anthem each game. I’ve done this for the past five years and never have the stars more aligned then in this image. The sherbet colors of the sunset. All the fans ready for the rival primetime game. The full field American flag. The pyro.
Ronald Blair is a beast. He got ahold of Russell Wilson and wasn’t going to let go until he got a sack. I love the juxtaposition of Blair floating mid spin and Wilson ducking. I have the whole sequence of images but I think this one is the most powerful because they are parallel to each other in my frame.
I’m going to take this chance to shout out one of our amazing graphic designers Christine Zambetti. She came to me with the idea of stitching this sequence of photos together that I got of the Jeff Wilson touchdown vs. Arizona. She did an amazing job and really brought to life the energy that Wilson had as he crossed the goal line. We have an amazing crew here at the 49ers that works on creating content and it’s a true team effort. I’m grateful for every one of my teammates for helping elevate our images and coming up with creative ways like this to connect our images to the fans.
After the Packers game, I saw George Kittle running around the stadium high-fiving fans. I read which direction he was coming and hopped over the first row of seats and jumped in front of him. They all got a chance to celebrate that victory together and it was a way of him thanking the Faithful for bringing their energy. It’s amazing how Kittle always takes the time to connect with fans. It’s what makes him a great guy on and off the field.
WON Event Save the Date
You’re invited to WON Remembers 87 on Monday, December 16th. During this special evening, attendees will reflect upon the life of 49ers great, Dwight Clark with fans, notable media guests and some 49ers alumni who knew him best.
Upon arrival to the 49ers Museum presented by Foxconn Industrial Internet, guests will be treated to beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres in the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. Hall of Fame. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of Letters to 87 and NBC Sports Bay Area Insider Matt Maiocco will be available to meet fans and sign copies of the book. 100% of the book royalties will be donated to the Golden Heart Fund.
The event will culminate in the Fii Club where Senior Team Reporter, Keiana Martin will lead a discussion with several 49ers alumni including Keena Turner. They will share their favorite stories and memories of the 49ers legend. Following the conversation, fans will be treated to a special presentation of the Letters to 87 documentary from NBC Sports Bay Area.
Official invites will be sent this week!
This Month in 49ers History
A look at marquee moments throughout the team’s rich history pulled from the 49ers Archives.
Dec. 24, 2011
David Akers kicked four field goals, including the game-winning 39-yard boot late in the fourth quarter, as San Francisco slipped past Seattle 19-17 at CenturyLink Field on Christmas Eve. Quarterback Alex Smith rallied the 49ers for his fifth come-from-behind win of the season. He connected with receiver Michael Crabtree on a 41-yard pass to set up Akers' winning kick. Rookie running back Kendall Hunter scooted 73 yards on 13 carries and added two receptions to have one of his best days with the 49ers. Linebacker Larry Grant finished off the Seahawks by stripping the ball from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on their final drive. Safety Donte Whitner recovered the fumble for San Francisco.