San Francisco has been known to make afterthoughts into productive runners in recent years. It's added one who doesn't need such an elevation.
The 49ers selected Ohio State running back Trey Sermon with the 88th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday night in Cleveland. S.F. had to move up to make the pick, trading away two fourth-rounders (Nos. 117 and 121) to the Rams.
Sermon captured the affection of the state of Ohio with an incredible finish to the 2020 season -- his lone campaign spent with the Buckeyes -- filling in for the injured Master Teague to rush for 331 yards in the Buckeyes' Big Ten title game win over Northwestern. The explosion in Indianapolis was the high-water mark of a three-game stretch in which he rushed for 636 yards and four touchdowns combined between wins over Michigan State, Northwestern and Clemson. The last of that trio saw Sermon rip up 193 yards and score a touchdown in Ohio State's College Football Playoff semifinal win over the Tigers, earning the Buckeyes revenge and putting Sermon on the national map.
Sermon's career was highly anticipated when he arrived at Oklahoma, but he never reached his potential with the Sooners before transferring to Ohio State. His finish to his time as a Buckeye opened the eyes of the NFL to his potential, and San Francisco responded in kind, trading up to grab him in the third round.
Sermon is the ideal fit in Kyle Shanahan's offense, which has seen the likes of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert power the 49ers' rushing attack in their most successful season of 2019. Sermon will benefit from running behind fullback Kyle Juszczyk, and the schematic creativity of Shanahan, who will find plenty of ways to maximize Sermon's talents.
Once a back in search of a last chance to make a name for himself at the collegiate level, Sermon has now found a new home in the NFL.