Sacramento Native, 49ers Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon Talks Path to NFL

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SANTA CLARA -- A week ago, Sacramento native Ahkello Witherspoon was the 66th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

At 6-feet-3-inches tall and nearly 200 pounds, Witherspoon has both the size and speed the San Francisco 49ers are looking for in their defensive back field. That's why the team picked him.

"When (49ers general manager) John Lynch called, my first response was, 'Man, quit playing,'" Witherspoon told FOX40. "I was just in shock. I ran out of the house, I was celebrating, my family was yelling. I was just trying to listen to him and (head coach Kyle) Shanahan. It was an exciting moment."

Witherspoon's journey to the NFL was different than most players. Considered a late bloomer, he weighed less than a hundred pounds when he started attending Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento as a freshman. He only played football for the school during his senior year.

"I just had a growth spurt. My dad said he was a late bloomer as well," he said. "But as it pushed on into my junior year, I was like, 'Man, when is this going to happen?' And that summer after my junior year I just went through a lot of growing pains."

As he grew, so did Witherspoon's performance on the field. He spent his first two years after high school playing at Sacramento City College before getting a scholarship to play at the University of Colorado, where he continued to grow into a top NFL draft prospect.

Now, the 49ers have changed their defensive philosophy to a more aggressive style of play -- one that suits Witherspoon's game tremendously.

"They want me to come in and play press technique. In your face and that's the kind of game I like. Take the air out of it, disrupt the timing, and just make plays on the ball. And that's what I intend to do," he said.

Witherspoon joins another local guy, Arik Armstead, on the 49ers. That pair may one day anchor the team.


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