If you've been to SB Nation's San Francisco 49ers blog, Niners Nation, at all in the past year or so, you'll know what it means when a player is/was the 49ers future. It all started with Kory Sheets, an undrafted running back out of Purdue, whom the 49ers signed as a rookie in 2009. Sheets came in, played very well in the preseason, then was cut. A user on Niners Nation thought it keen to make the username "KORY SHEETS WAS OUR FUTURE!" It was a rather surreal time. There was a slew of posts about the incompetence of the 49ers management and how Kory Sheets was the man destined to lead the 49ers to the promised land.
I've noticed, as a 49ers fan, some of us do things like this quite often. We come just short of making the username and going overboard, but becoming attached to one player or another is fairly easy.
5. Jay Moore, LB, Nebraska
I'm not even positive if this is the right Jay Moore I'm looking at. The reason is because I know absolutely nothing about this guy. He's only on this list because I only remember one person I ever talked to who knew who he was. That guy is David Fucillo, our editor here at SB Nation Bay Area and editor at Niners Nation (perhaps better known as "Fooch.") I could not, for the life of me, understand why Jay Moore was regarded highly by Fooch. I knew nothing about this linebacker, and nobody else on Niners Nation seemed to know at the time. He made Fooch's roster projections for 2008 and 2009, and I bet, even without him sniffing the team in 2010, he still had him in there on his rough draft.
It's OK, David, it happens to the best of us. I'm sorry Jay Moore never "turned out."
4. Shaun Hill, QB, Maryland
The "KORY SHEETS WAS OUR FUTURE" guy was also the owner of the account "SHAUN HILL ROCKS" which was the case for a short while. Hill came in and won something like 10 of 15 starts, I can't remember exactly how many but he had an excellent record broken up over two seasons of coming in and mopping up at the end of the season. Shaun Hill is probably the football equivalent of an all-star closer in baseball. I myself was on the Shaun Hill bandwagon, and I'm sad that he was traded. But his limp arm just wasn't enough for the NFL and the 49ers felt like they had a better option in Alex Smith.
Shaun Hill just had an outing in which he was robbed (yes, robbed) of a win for the Detroit Lions on Sunday, week one of the 2010 NFL season. A shame he couldn't pick up the first save of his 2010 season, or something along those lines. The Hill bandwagon was fierce and short-lived, but what a bandwagon it was.
3. Joe Montana, QB, Retirement
Oh, you are wondering why I'm putting "retirement," instead of his college? Well, it's because I'm referring to Joe Montana right now. Have you seen those shape-ups commercials? Joe Cool is BACK, and he's ready to lead the 49ers to a 2010s dynasty, thanks Sketchers!
2. Nate Davis, QB, Ball State
The NDIOF (Nate Davis Is Our Future) bandwagon is in full effect. This preseason, people clamored for Alex Smith to be benched in favor of Davis. There were people who insisted that his arm and instinct alone make him a better option in the present day. Then Singletary called out Davis for work ethic issues, and released him shortly after the roster cut deadline. Niners Nation imploded due to the logical impossibility of their future being cut.
Readers screamed in awe, holding their hands to their face as they watched it slowly fade away before them. They are tied to the 49ers, and if the 49ers effectively just cut who was surely their future, the time space equivalent to going back in time and slaughtering your own father before he had a chance to conceive you. It seemed like such an opprotune moment for Davis, as well, the guy is learning so much and he played well, it seems. That just makes it worse, like you went back and walked in on your parents in the act of conveiving you, only to be so disturbed that it's all you can do to find the nearest blunt object and wail on your father as you slowly fade away into nothingness.
Well, the 49ers ended up looking alright in the matter, signing Troy Smith and signing Nate Davis to their practice squad (effectively releasing another potential "was our future" candidate in Jarrett Brown, who just missed this list) and he still IS the 49ers future. NATE DAVIS IS OUR FUTURE!
1. Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue
How can I not include this? It's the most obvious choice, and thus it is the choice I'm going with. Kory Sheets had a significantly awesome preseason, at times being the only player on the team putting up points. He returned kickoffs well, he caught the ball with vice-grip hands and gained yards. He was a speed guy who made people look silly when they tried to tackle him. He had springs in his shoes and leaped over the offensive and defensive lines to score a touchdown. This guy was a stud.
KORY SHEETS WAS OUR FUTURE was a troubled individual at times. All that we really know about him is that he was literally psycho for Kory Sheets and Shaun Hill, while simultaneously insisting that he was, indeed, not psycho. His fanposts gained 100 comments almost every time.
Either way, it turns out Sheets was not the 49ers future. They cut him, signed him to the practice squad, and he was picked up by the Miami Dolphins. He was active for a few games, did nothing special, and from then on he was cut. He may have gotten hurt, I'm not sure, but Wikipedia (the greatest source for this kind of thing, of course) says he's a free agent.
Maybe ... maybe he is our future, still? KORY SHEETS IS OUR FUTURE