Why Pearsall's college coach ordered him not to practice so much

Why Pearsall's college coach ordered him not to practice so much originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

After projecting to go in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, 49ers first-round pick Ricky Pearsall is eager and ready to make the most of his opportunity and not let San Francisco down.

That mindset stems from several aspects of his life -- from his football-loving father who constantly has pushed him since he was able to walk, to his hardworking mother balancing several jobs at one time, to the coaches he has played for at different levels of his career.

That work ethic stood out to his college coaches, and his Arizona State coach Herm Edwards recently told The San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch that he occasionally had to order Pearsall not to practice or to take a rest day.

Edwards raved about Pearsall to 49ers general manager John Lynch while warning him that the young receiver could drain his own battery.

“I told John this: 'You’ve got to protect him from himself,' ” Edwards told Branch. “Because he’s a full-speed guy. He can wear himself down just because of the way he practices and goes about his business. He’s so competitive. Every once in a while, you’ve got to say, ‘OK, this is like a half-speed drill. Just slow down.’

"And there were other times, ‘No, man, you’re not practicing today. You get a day. You’re not doing it.’ And it would be, ‘Aw, Coach.’ "

The 6-foot-1, 191-pound Pearsall played three seasons at Arizona State before finishing his collegiate career with two seasons at Florida.

During his five college seasons, the 23-year-old finished with 159 receptions for 2,420 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 21 times for 253 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

Florida head coach Billy Napier also spoke to Branch and said Pearsall “always had a purpose” while praising his attention to detail.

Pearsall would catch 100 consecutive balls from a JUGS machine both before and after practice and then restart anytime he had a drop.

The result?

He had six drops on 233 career targets and had the fourth-lowest drop rate in college football last season while posting career highs in catches (65) and yards (965).

The mindset and the skillet surely are what prompted 49ers general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. to take Pearsall much earlier than others projected.

And luckily for him, there will be plenty of time to practice this summer.

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