Arizona has a strong presence on the San Francisco 49ers roster, as they prepare for Super Bowl 58.
LAS VEGAS (KYMA, KECY) - The 49ers may have came to Las Vegas from San Francisco, but the Arizona connections run deep. The 49ers have multiple players with roots in the Grand Canyon State.
49ers starting quarterback Brock Purdy grew up in Gilbert, Arizona and starred at Perry High School, where he won Gatorade Player of the Year.
"The community I hade out in Arizona, like everyone helps each other out," Purdy said. "Everyone was so supportive in what you did, whether it was sports, life, or school. I'm very fortunate to have the community that I had and Queen Creek and Gilbert and Chandler. So many good people in my life and the same time at the same time by everyone worked on what they got, you know, it wasn't nothing was given to anybody."
Purdy has spent a lot of time giving back to the Arizona community. In high school he volunteered with a local non-profit Team Emery.
"If you're given given blessings in life i think it is just huge to give back back and love on people that may be less fortunate," he said. "Whatever way that looks like. So I love the high school youth in our platform to be able to help out kids and then get other athletes to come in and give back as best as we could and Team Emery did a great job with that in high school. Going around in hospitals and giving kids a smile and joy by giving them a stuffed animal and the bear like those kinds of things. It's huge."
49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk spent two years as an Arizona State Sun Devil. Aiyuk played for Herm Edwards and grew into a first round pick in Tempe.
"I was a young man at that time and I feel like I grew in lot and took steps into growing into the man I am today by stopping in Tempe Arizona," Aiyuk said. "I think my favorite memory at Arizona State was beating Oregon in Tempe."
49ers edge rusher Randy Gregory played at Arizona Western College before transferring to the University of Nebraska.
"It was the bridge from high school or college a lot of experiences out there good and bad," Gregory said. "A great community at the end of the day. I mean, it taught me to keep my head down and get to work to get my school work done and stay out of trouble."
Despite Arizona having numerous products performing on the biggest of stages, the state isn't recognizes as a football powerhouse.
"We have a ton of talent and I kind of say this all the time," 49ers linebacker and Tucson native Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles said. "I really think that Tucson or Arizona in general gets overshadowed when it comes to the talent in Arizona. Hopefully that starts to change a little faster."
Flannigan-Fowles stayed in Tucson, playing his college ball at Arizona.
"States that have been known to produce talent like Texas or California, it is kind of the norm," He said. "So any kid coming out of there, they are going to be highlighted a little bit more. Not to say they aren't good. That is what happens when you come from a smaller town like Tucson or Yuma will get overshadowed and not get the respect they also deserve."
These "48ers" will once again need to rise to the occasion as they face two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.