NFL Draft

Pearsall excited for 49ers reunion with ex-high school rival Purdy

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SANTA CLARA — Ricky Pearsall does not have great memories from the last time he was on the same field as Brock Purdy.

There’s something about being on the losing side of a 70-24 game that leaves a mark.

Pearsall and Purdy attended suburban Phoenix high schools 15 miles apart. Pearsall was a star wide receiver at Corona del Sol High in Tempe, Arizona, while Purdy was the record-setting quarterback at Perry High in Gilbert.

Purdy and Perry also crushed Pearsall and Corona del Sol 56-21 during the 2016 high school season.

Now, they are teammates with the 49ers.

Two years after the 49ers selected Purdy with the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the organization on Thursday chose Pearsall with a first-round selection at No. 31 overall.

Purdy will be throwing passes to Pearsall, a versatile receiver whom coach Kyle Shanahan envisions fitting in well with the 49ers' offense.

Pearsall played one season at Arizona State with 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. They spoke Thursday night. On Friday, Purdy got in touch with Pearsall.

“He reached out to me this morning and congratulated me — my Arizona brother,” Pearsall told NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s going to take us a long way just having that chemistry.”

When their high schools met in September 2017, both players had performances that foreshadowed their rise to the NFL. Pearsall caught eight passes for 184 yards for his team, while Purdy threw for four touchdowns as his team rolled up 70 points.

Pearsall spent three years at Arizona State before transferring to the University of Florida, where he caught 65 passes last season for 965 and four touchdowns as a fifth-year senior.

“I think our only interaction talking was actually at an award ceremony in Arizona after the season,” Pearsall said. “Other than that, we didn’t have any interactions.

“We probably just knew of each other just because we’re from Arizona and we played against each other. I had a good game and he had a good game. So It was one of those things where, ‘Yeah, this guy can go; I know he’s going places.’”

Purdy went on to Iowa State, where he was a four-year starter. He has become one of the big stories of the NFL, rising from Mr. Irrelevant to a player who finished fourth in the NFL MVP voting in his first season as the starter.

“Yeah, man, it’s amazing to see,” Pearsall said of Purdy. “Seeing him in high school, playing against him in Arizona, and seeing how his career has played out, it’s super cool to see and witness.

"And now to be teammates, it makes it just that much more special.”

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