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ASU Football: Due to 49er's Injuries Brandon Aiyuk's Immediate Impact

Brandon Aiyuk may see more playing time due to teammates injuries

Despite being a first-round pick, Arizona State receiver, Brandon Aiyuk wasn't expected to handle large duties for the San Francisco 49ers offense.

On Monday, those expectations may have changed. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed receiver Jalen Hurd is expected to miss the entirety of the 2020 season after tearing his ACL in the early stages of training camp.

Following the departures of Emmanuel Sanders and Marquise Goodwin, playing time in San Francisco's pass-catching department was all for the taking. After an impressive rookie campaign, Deebo Samuel established himself as the team's top receiver heading into 2020.

After Samuel, a competition between Aiyuk and Hurd was expected to emerge for the second starting spot. Now, with Hurd down due to injury, it appears Aiyuk's presence in San Francisco is expected to be larger than anticipated.

That may not be a bad thing, as the former Sun Devil has impressed in his short time with the team:

"I've been really impressed with him, just being around him," Shanahan said to

"He was very impressive on the Zoom meetings, just his attention to detail. Since we've got here, just going into these walkthroughs and stuff, you can tell he knows how to practice like a pro. You can tell he comes prepared every day. He's not a guy you've had to teach how to act or teach how important it is to learn this stuff. You can tell he understood that before he got here. Since we've been around him, you can tell he's been working and that's why he's further ahead I think that a lot of rookies would be at this time."

With a combined 74 targets now up for grabs, it appears fellow receivers Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne are Aiyuk's greatest competition for playing time. While Aiyuk may not overtake George Kittle has Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite target, the opportunity now arises for Aiyuk to prove himself early in his career.