Player Feature: Jeff Wilson Jr.
Has been drumming since he was two years old. His father, Wilson Sr., sang in a gospel group and Wilson backed him up on the drums.
Grew up in Elkhart, TX, roughly 10 miles from the hometown of running back Adrian Peterson. Wilson Jr., regularly attended Peterson's high school games, breaking down his play to emulate his style in practice.
Wilson holds a close relationship with his father, Jeff Sr. who played running back at the University of Texas-Arlington, and has guided Jeff Jr. throughout his athletic career and life. "He's always been a major part of my life," Wilson said. "I don't even remember him missing a single one of my games. That's the type of father he is."
Rushed for a career-high 112 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on 17 carries (6.6 average) at the New England Patriots (10/25). It marked his first-career 100-yard game. His three rushing touchdowns were the most by a 49ers running back on the road since Roger Craig registered three rushing touchdowns at the Los Angeles Rams (10/16/88).
This month's "Coach's Corner" comes from wide receivers coach Wes Welker.
How would you assess rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk's first season?
"I thought it was good. Obviously, it was tough for rookies this year coming in with not having the offseason and other factors, but Brandon kept on improving throughout the year and getting better and better. Overall, we're really happy with Brandon. He has the potential to be a great player for us in the future."
If you had to rank the most important skills of a WR between hands, speed, or route running, what would it be?
"That's a tough one, but speed is always something that we emphasize. Speed is definitely a huge part, but all of it is important, all three of those factors are things we look for in all our guys. You have to be able to catch the ball to play receiver so I'd say speed, then hands and last would be route running. The route running can sometimes take more time, while the other two you either have it or you don't."
The WR group always seems to have great chemistry with one another. What goes into creating such a tight knit group both on and off the field?
"It's all about the guys and the types of guys we have in our room. Kyle and John don't just bring in the right talent, they bring in the right people as well. That's a huge part of what makes it enjoyable to come to work every single day. Any time you have a bad apple it brings everyone else down and we've been fortunate not to have dealt with that. We try to have fun in our room. We are very serious about the game, but we also try to have fun and enjoy it. The key thing is the personalities and our guys really mesh well together."
In the Shanahan offense, is it more important to be better pass catcher or run blocker?
"If you're a receiver in the league you have to be able to get open and catch the ball, that's what our job description really is. But it's also about understanding the team aspect of what we're trying to get done and the only way for us to win games and do what we need to do is to be able to block. It sets up our play action and our keeper game. If you want to get open, you have to make those safeties come down and feel threatened with the run so we can hit it over the top. It's definitely a big aspect of what we do. Our guys always accept the challenge and keep getting better at it."
To read more about Coach Welker, click the bio below.
WON of Us: Erika
Erika was born into 49ers fandom and believes the players motivate and help her escape from everyday life.
I was born into it! My Nanni and Nannu (mother's parents) had season tickets at Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park so it really became the foundation for all of us kids to become avid 49ers fans. Nanni was from San Francisco and went to Balboa High School, so she really had been a fan of the team from the beginning. My earliest memories as a fan link back to my childhood when my grandparents would pick up all of us grandkids from school and spend every afternoon doing homework and playing in what was called, The Backroom. The Backroom was also the place where Nanni and Nannu kept all of their 49ers memorabilia. We grew up seeing the greatest 49ers memories immortalized on the walls of their house. It's actually funny to think back on the fact that they had so many great autographs and pictures on the walls and let us kids spend so much time just being kids in that room.
What do you love about WON?
It's trailblazing in similar ways that women are trailblazing the sport overall! For my family, Sundays were about church and football and that was really led by my Nanni. She was the first woman that I knew that really cared about the game and that really set the tone for me and the other girls in the family that everyone could be a 49ers fan.
Was there one inspirational moment in team history that confirmed your 49ers fandom?
For me, the fandom was always there and was ingrained in me at a very young age so there isn't really an on-field moment that sticks out to define my fandom. But I think a moment that sticks out to me in regards to the team was the last game at Candlestick. My family, unfortunately, did not continue our season tickets at Levi's® Stadium so it was sort of an end of the era when the team moved. It did not affect our loyalty to the team, but it was a moment that solidified that memories together may have ended in one building, but there will be a whole new generation of ones to come at home or in the new stadium.
Get to know WON member Erika.
What 49ers tradition or superstition do you/your family have?
I have a lucky poncho from Tijuana. I know how that sounds but it is a beautiful red and gold poncho that kept me so warm for the coldest games at The Stick. I can remember the day I saw it and was able to barter the salesman down from $60 to $20 and knew it had to be mine. I've worn it throughout the years, but these days it really is more of special occasion attire like cold games and Super Bowls.
What impact has the 49ers had on your life?
The 49ers have always brought my family together. At first, it was always my biological-blood family, but now it brings my chosen family together as well. I'm an ER nurse and every year we find a way to all attend a home game together, tailgate, bond, and leave the stress of the job behind for a few hours. It's odd, but it really took the pandemic to hit to truly understand what sports and the 49ers really meant to me. It truly is an escape from the everyday and gives me something to look forward to all year long. These teams and games help us cope with so many tough things that we have to see and deal with on a day-to-day basis. But the moments when you see your heroes like Nick Bosa and Jerry Rice go out of their way to call you a hero along with all of my fellow healthcare workers, it's a great feeling and motivates you to continue pushing through the hardest of days.
The celebration will include a panel with Senior Team Reporter, Keiana Martin, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Laura McCabe, Pro Personnel Analyst, Salli Clavelle, Player Engagement Coordinator, Shelby Soltau, and host Haley Jones discuss their roles as trailblazers in the NFL and how they got to where they are now.
To be a part of this event, register here by Monday, March 8. All registered attendees will receive additional event details before the event begins. We hope you are able to join!
In addition to the live panel event on International Women's Day, all March long, we'll be celebrating Women's History Month including a photo submission opportunity, and weekly themed content.
Submit and post your #ChooseToChallenge pose picture with your hand high in your 49ers gear to show your commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes and help forge an inclusive world. Social media posts should include #ChooseToChallenge and #GoNiners. Submit your photo here.
This Month in 49ers History
March 12, 2013
The 49ers acquired Anquan Boldin, one of the NFL's toughest and most reliable receivers, from the Baltimore Ravens for a sixth-round draft choice. Boldin earned a legion of San Francisco fans in his first game with the club by hauling in 13 passes for 208 yards in a 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers. During his three seasons (2013-2015) in San Francisco, Boldin was the club's go-to receiver nabbing 237 passes for 16 touchdowns. In 2015 he earned the NFL's Walter Payton Man-of-the-Year Award for his humanitarian and community service work.