Coe's Trevor Heitland gets a shot at NFL, attends 49ers rookie minicamp

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CEDAR RAPIDS — He has no idea what will become of it, if anything. But Trevor Heitland has a memory for a lifetime, even if that answer eventually turns out to be nothing.

The NCAA Division III all-American from Coe College and Cedar Rapids Kennedy was one of 88 participants last weekend in a rookie minicamp conducted by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

He joined recent 49ers draft picks C.J. Beathard and George Kittle of Iowa at the camp, which ran from Thursday to Saturday at the 49ers practice facility, which is affixed to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

“It was an amazing experience,” Heitland said. “I wasn’t expecting it, so I was kind of caught off guard at first. Just getting out there, I was a little nervous. Didn’t know what to expect. But it was a lot of fun. They made sure everybody got plenty of reps. Great experience. Whether anything comes out of it or not, it was still cool to do.”

Heitland found out last Tuesday he was an invitee. He hopped on a plane early Thursday morning, went through workouts and drills with other campers, got back on a plane Saturday evening and made it home in time to go through Coe graduation Sunday morning.

He got his degree in business and accounting.

Heitland played his first three seasons at Coe as a wide receiver, but was moved to running back in 2016 and became the Iowa Conference’s Most Valuable Player, helping the Kohawks to an undefeated regular season and a first-round win in the D-III national playoffs. He led D-III in carries, rushing yards and all-purpose yards.

If the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder has a professional future, it’ll be as a slot receiver. That’s where he worked out at Iowa State’s Pro Day before the draft and at the 49ers rookie camp.

“I was happy with how I played. I thought it went pretty well overall,” Heitland said. “Now I just stay in shape, keep working out. Keep training, just in case some team does end up calling. Other than that, it’s just a waiting period. See what happens.”

This is not unchartered territory for the Coe football program and its running backs. Carey Bender played the 1996 season with the Buffalo Bills, and Fred Jackson was with the Bills and Seattle Seahawks from 2006 to 2015.

 Fred Jackson staying in shape, just in case the NFL comes calling

Jackson slugged his way to the NFL after beginning with indoor pro football. Heitland said he would contemplate that route as well.

The 49ers already have signed three free agents out of last weekend’s minicamp.

“Now that this whole thing is over, I have started to think a little bit about (things),” Heitland said. “I’d definitely consider the Canadian (Football) League, if that ever is an opportunity. There’s nothing serious about that, yet. We’ll see what happens.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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