Is Chip Kelly the coach that can return the 49ers to prominence?

One of his former players he's reunited with in San Francisco strongly believes so.

"Chip Kelly, having him as our coach, ya know, is a guy I know very well," defensive lineman Arik Armstead told Bleacher Report's 'Uninterrupted.' "Recruited me in high school. Sat in my home, got me to go up to Oregon.

"And him, [as well as] the rest of the staff, I know is going to get us on the right path."

[NFL DRAFT: NFL scouts' pre-draft analysis of 49ers greats]

Armstead, a 6-foot-7, 296-pound behemoth, was drafted No. 17 overall by the 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft.

He settled in right away with a young, rebuilding San Francisco defense.

"We have a young, talented group with a bunch of guys eager and ready to play," Armstead added. "And I think next year we're going to do a lot better.

"Chip is a guy I know very well. Like I said, played for him in college. My freshman year, first game of my college career I remember him coming up to me in pre-game warm ups and asking me if I was ready to play. And being super nervous on the inside, I told him, 'Hell yeah, I'm ready.' But really I was super scared and nervous and he smiled and laughed. And that was a story I always remember about him."

 

Armstead appeared in 16 games as a rookie, recording 19 tackles and two sacks.

[MAIOCCO: 49ers must improve moribund pass rush]

Prior to becoming a first-round draft selection, he played three seasons at the University of Oregon, including one under Kelly.

Armstead left the Ducks with 87 career tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

"I think [Kelly] is going to get us on the right path," Armstead reiterated. "It's going to be a lot of hard work this year. But I think it's going to be beneficial to our team. The sky is the limit for us, really, it can't really get any worse than last season.

"It's going to be a big year. ...I'm real excited."

Armstead confessed that 2015, his first season as a pro, was a disappointment as a whole.

"Last year didn't go as planned," the defender commented. "5-11 is no way to represent the Bay Area. And that's not what being a 49er is all about. And I feel like we let the fans down, we let you guys down. Next year look forward to bringing a lot more excitement to the Bay Area, and to you guys.

"Next year is going to be a big year for me," Armstead said.