Lessons from Camp Alex rubbed off on S.J. State star

Lessons from Camp Alex rubbed off on S.J. State star
February 26, 2012, 7:50 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Duke Ihenacho generally kept to himself during the summer months, but he made sure to constantly observe how the pros do it.Before Ihenacho became the first San Jose State player to become a three-time first-team all-conference selection, he spent the summer before his senior season working alongside many of the 49ers during the NFL lockout."It was cool," Ihenacho said Sunday at the NFL scouting combine. "They were cool guys. They were pretty humble and they let us work in with them. Just having them there, you see the guys in person and you root for them because you know them now. It was a good experience."The 49ers offensive players held two weeks of playbook installations and practices known as "Camp Alex." But the San Jose State workout facilities became the 49ers' home for daily workouts for players on both sides of the ball.
"I remember looking at them as professionals," Ihenacho said. "Nobody was forcing them to be there. They were working to get better because they know it's important to them. I saw that."Ihenacho (6-foot, 213 pounds) was an all-WAC linebacker before moving to safety, where he appears to have a future in the NFL. He has the bloodlines. His brother, Carl, is a 255-pound linebacker with the Raiders.Ihenacho had seven interceptions in his career, with five of them coming in 2008. He said he let too many potential interceptions slip through his hands. And that's an area in which he knows he can improve.
"I've been working hard on my ball skills, and I'm a ballhawk now," Ihenacho said. "I'm a solid tackler, so I'm always around the football because my effort takes me there."Ihenacho said he found himself admiring the 49ers last season during their run to the NFC championship game. He said he envisions himself with some of Dashon Goldson's athleticism coupled with Donte Whitner's physical style.He figures he can step in and become an immediate core special-teams players in the NFL. And the 49ers' special teams definitely caught his eye."Tony Montana," Ihenacho said laughing. "Yeah I YouTube'd it a couple times."