Former Cal Poly fullback Joe Protheroe didn’t land with a team after last weekend’s NFL Draft. But the most decorated Mustangs player ever will get a chance to fight his way onto a roster this weekend after he received an invite as an undrafted free agent to the San Francisco 49ers rookie minicamp.
The NFL allows teams to hold post-draft rookie minicamps on one of two weekends — May 3-6 or May 10-13 — which is open for draftees, undrafted free agents and rookie invites. Teams are restricted to 90 players when training camp begins in July, with the cut-down to 53 players occurring Aug. 31.
At Cal Poly’s Pro Day last month, Protheroe recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.75 seconds, benched 22 reps of 225 pounds, leaped nine feet in the broad jump and jumped 30.5 inches in the vertical. Scouts from the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars were on hand.
Protheroe became the most decorated Mustang football player with seven All-America honors during the 2018 season. Protheroe smashed Cal Poly’s single-season and career rushing marks last fall, amassing 1,810 yards this season to break James Noble’s record of 1,578 yards and raise his career total to 4,271 yards, eclipsing Craig Young’s mark of 4,205 yards set from 1996-99.
Protheroe also was a two-time All-American following the 2016 season when he rushed for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns. STATS Inc. also named Protheroe a third-team All-American in 2015.
He also received All-Big Sky Conference first-team accolades three times on the way to 4,271 career rushing yards and 35 career touchdowns.
Protheroe, who finished fourth in balloting for the 2018 Walter Payton Award, surpassed the 200-yard mark in rushing three consecutive times late in the season, four for the year and five times in his Mustang career. They are among 23 career 100-yard performances, including the final nine games of the 2018 season. All of those accomplishments are school records.