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What Iowa State corner Tampa learned about Purdy in college

What Iowa State corner Tampa learned about Purdy in college originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

INDIANAPOLIS — T.J. Tampa was a two-way Florida high school standout before accepting an offer to play collegiately at Iowa State.

But rather than catching passes from Brock Purdy in his first two seasons of college, Tampa was moved exclusively to cornerback upon his arrival in Ames, Iowa.

When asked if he would have enjoyed the opportunity to catch passes from Purdy, he answered, “Oh, yeah, of course.”

But things certainly turned out well for Tampa, who is attending the NFL Scouting Combine as a cornerback and could hear his name called in the first round of the draft.

Tampa said he does not recall if he ever intercepted a Purdy pass in practice while he was trying to work his way into a role in the Cyclones’ defense early in his college career. But he does remember he had to be sticky in coverage against Purdy’s throwing marksmanship.

“He’s a very accurate quarterback,” Tampa said of Purdy. “He was good at looking DBs off.”

Before Purdy emerged as a player who finished fourth in the voting for NFL Most Valuable Player, he was a mostly unheralded prospect whom the 49ers chose with the No. 262 and final selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Purdy was a four-year starter at Iowa State, where he was anything but overlooked or underappreciated.

“It’s great to see him do what he does at the NFL level, knowing that he always wanted to stand for something,” Tampa said. “And he’s still doing that at the highest level, so that’s great for him.

“I just feel like Iowa State, they’re always there watching him all the time. He probably didn’t get as much exposure as the bigger schools got.”

Purdy had an exceptional first full season as the 49ers’ starter in 2023, leading the 49ers to Super Bowl LVIII. He set the franchise record with 4,280 passing yards in 16 games while leading the NFL in passer rating (113.0) and yards per pass attempt (9.6).

After Purdy’s departure from Iowa State, Tampa became one of the top players in the program. Over his final two years of college, Tampa started 24 games, had three interceptions, 16 passes broken up and eight tackles for loss.

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