49ers legend Frank Gore on Frank Gore Jr.: 'Great vision. Great heart. Stronger than what people think.'

Cam Inman, Bay Area News Group on

Published in Football

Frank Gore arrives Monday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis as a member of the 49ers’ personnel department, and one obvious prospect is on his radar: Frank Gore Jr.

“I’ve been a proud father,” Gore said in an exclusive interview with this news organization. “Just the process, how he’s handled it, man, he’s stepped up to the plate every time.”

And now his namesake is on the NFL’s doorstep, following in the legendary footsteps of the 49ers’ all-time leading rusher.

Frank Gore Jr., after four seasons at Southern Miss, emerged as the offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Bowl on Feb. 1 in Frisco, Texas. As he received that trophy, his admiring father recorded the moment on the field with his phone.

“Everybody questioned him about the level he’d been playing, and at the East-West Shrine Bowl, he killed that. He had a great week,” Gore said of his son. “That let him know he’s a football player.

“… I’m happy he got to play with Power Five guys at the Shrine Bowl, and look how it came out,” Gore added. “He had a great week of practice and a lot of people felt he was the best one at the position. That’s a plus.”


A 49-yard touchdown run on a third-and-1 carry sparked Gore’s West team to a 26-11 win.

“I know there’s a lot of questions about me, because I’m from a small school,” Gore Jr. said, according to “So I had a chip on my shoulder to come in and sort of prove to everyone that I belonged.”

That should have been evident as he ran for 4,022 yards, the third-most in Southern Miss history. He ran for an FBS bowl record 329 yards in the December 2022 LendingTree Bowl in a 38-24 win over Rice.

That, along with grueling training sessions in South Florida ahead of the combine, may not translate to getting drafted in the early rounds like his father. But this month’s Shrine Bowl performance certainly should lead to the name “Gore” being called during the NFL Draft in late April; the 49ers are projected to have 11 picks.


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