Brandon Aiyuk determined to ‘prove’ his worth entering fourth NFL season

Jul 30, 2023, 3:00 PM

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers catches a pass during the first quarter against the Lo...

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Entering Year 4 in the NFL, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is becoming a star in front of the league’s eyes.

The Arizona State alum has been the biggest standout at 49ers training camp thus far, making it two years in a row for the former first-round pick. Catching everything in his path, the exceptional route runner scored four touchdowns in one practice Sunday, the most out of any pass catcher combined.

“BA” has been a dog on a bone this offseason, obsessed with football, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. And the results of better preparation are just starting to pay off.

“This is my fourth year in this offense and the work I’ve feel like I’ve put in & the success I’ve had in this offense. Put it all together and that’s what you get,” Brandon Aiyuk told the media Sunday.

When asked if he agreed with Shanahan’s new assessment of him, Aiyuk replied with a simple, yet succinct, answer: “I’ve been obsessed with football”.

That may ring hollow with some of 49ers Faithful, only recently seeing his true potential. But the Rocklin native has a keen focus on the game, so much so that he replays his past transgressions to better himself in the future.

“Just looking back on it, you get to see some of the success and then also some of the stuff that didn’t go well,” Aiyuk explained. “Then you just look at that, and you really can see where you can take it to. It wasn’t just about seeing success, but seeing opportunities missed, and what it could look like [if] those had been made.”

Because of that, Aiyuk is on a mission this season: Be the best wideout the NFL has to offer.

He may have all the talent in the world, but it’s about proving it each & every day. The wideout has done that so far, having to prove his value to both himself, the coaches and also his own defense, as well.

“Just trying to prove yourself every day. The [defensive backs], they’re not gonna stop talking to us,” Aiyuk stated. “So we got to go out there and prove it to them every single day, prove it to ourselves every single day…We got a couple of weeks to be the best version of ourselves leading into the season.”

It also helps that he has a legit Pro-Bowl talent in Deebo Samuel lined up opposite of him.

Samuel has been on a reclamation project of his own this offseason. Coming into training camp in the best shape since his rookie season, the South Carolina native is eager to put an “awful” 2022 season behind him. That in turn motivates Aiyuk to be better each day on the field, and vice versa.

“I love having him as a teammate just because you have somebody around you that motivates you,” Aiyuk said about Samuel. “And I said it before, I get to watch him do the stuff that he does, the way he goes about his business and that motivates me to be better. And I’m sure he’d say the same thing.”

With his fifth-year option already picked up, Brandon Aiyuk will look to make the 2023 season his best yet, before entering into his own long-term extension talks next summer.

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