The San Francisco 49ers made it a point to add running backs this offseason. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan signed Wayne Gallman in free agency, and then also took two in the NFL Draft with Trey Sermon out of Ohio State and Elijah Mitchell out of Louisiana. The former may be the more intriguing prospect, as Sermon recently revealed he has been watching 49ers film for years now.
Sermon spent his first three years at Oklahoma before transferring to Ohio State for the 2020 season. Having to learn a new offense, Sermon decided to watch NFL film of teams that utilized an outside zone running scheme. One of the teams he watched? The 49ers.
"When I was making the transition to Ohio State, I was looking at a lot of outside zone," Sermon said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "The 49ers were definitely one of the teams that I looked at. Just going through the progressions and the reads because I knew when I got to Ohio State we were going to run a lot of that."
Sermon's studies paid off, as he rushed for 870 yards and four touchdowns in eight games last year. Against Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game, he carried the Buckeyes to victory with 331 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Sermon followed that performance with 193 rushing yards and a touchdown against Clemson in the College Football Playoff Semifinals.
Sermon is a physical runner with good size who could make an immediate impact with the 49ers. He says he expects his NFL transition to be smooth and that rookie minicamp has been going well.
"It hasn't been too difficult just making the transition," Sermon said. "Some of the stuff is similar to what I did at Ohio State. I feel like my acclimation will be pretty smooth and it will be good."
San Francisco loves to utilize multiple backs, but their "starter" in Raheem Mostert is entering a contract year. Sermon could receive a fair share of snaps in the early stages of the 2021 season if he shows the coaches he can continue to thrive in the outside zone run scheme.