SANTA CLARA -- Brandon Aiyuk took full advantage of his first relatively normal NFL offseason.
As with all players entering their second year, the Arizona State product was able to enjoy time away from the facility without the need to prepare for pro days or the NFL Combine. Aiyuk took advantage, adding strength and muscle mass to his 6-foot-0 frame while honing his football skills.
“It was huge to have a full offseason,” Aiyuk said on Friday. “Just being able to get what I need and work with the quarterbacks. Just a bunch of weight lifted off of me not having to worry about stuff outside and being able to work on football.”
Aiyuk’s progress has been noticed by many of his teammates and coaches. While he had a minor setback during OTAs, sitting out of practice due to groin tightness, he has been a playmaker for the offense through the first week of training camp.
The wideout worked with Trey Lance during his time off in Orange County, Calif., quickly building chemistry with his new teammate. Even though Aiyuk didn’t get extra time in with Jimmy Garoppolo, the two have picked up right where they left off in 2020, effortlessly knowing where the other is on the field at practice.
“The trust factor with me and B, it's been awesome,” Garoppolo said on Wednesday. “It really has. Started from, I mean when he first got here, we had a good OTAs together. He's just one of those guys, his body language, it allows me to anticipate throws.”
After having adequate time to digest the playbook, Aiyuk now knows exactly where to be on each play and can focus on the finer details of his craft. Instead of second-guessing what play Kyle Shanahan has called, the sophomore receiver can focus on his breaks and releases.
Mohamed Sanu has been a resource for the young receiver and has taken notice of Aiyuk's abilities on the field.
“He’s a special talent,” Sanu said on Friday. “Brandon can do any-and-everything on the field. When he’s out there, he moves really well, catches the ball really well, releases well, gets in and out of his breaks extremely well. Watching him get better every day has been cool and I’m excited to see what he does this year.”
Jason Verrett knows firsthand what Aiyuk is capable of after regularly going up against him in practice. They've built up a healthy rivalry that has helped both players improve. The young receiver admitted he has gravitated to both Verrett and Sanu as resources.
“BA has always been a special player, we noticed that last year,” Verrett said on Thursday. “Going into year two, having a year under his belt, kind of knowing what it takes, he’s a special player. I think he’s going to make a lot of plays for us.”
Deebo Samuel was complimentary of what he has seen from his position-mate this season. The South Carolina product believes if Aiyuk fixes one element of his game, he will be unstoppable.
“One thing we always pick on BA about is coming off the ball,” Samuel said. “He has everything else, the hands, the routes, so if he comes off the ball like he’s supposed to, he’s an unguardable guy.”