Three Duke Alumni for the 49ers in the Super Bowl

Alumni at the Super Bowl: Clockwise from top left: Daniel Helm, Laken Tomlinson and, from 1998, 49er coach Kyle Shanahan
Alumni at the Super Bowl: Clockwise from top left: Daniel Helm, Laken Tomlinson and, from 1998, 49er coach Kyle Shanahan

If you’re looking for Duke connections to help you decide who to root for Sunday, a trio of Duke alumni will be on the sidelines of the San Francisco 49ers during the Super Bowl.

Two Duke alumni, offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, and tight end Daniel Helm are on the 49ers roster.  While Helm didn’t see game action this season, he is on the active squad.

Tomlinson, though, has been a key piece of the 49ers run to the championship game. He started all 16 games at left offensive guard as the 49ers went 13-3 and captured the NFC West championship. His OG skills helped San Francisco rank among the NFL leaders in rushing TDs (1st; 23), total TDs (2nd; 56), total rushing yards (2nd; 2,305), points per game (2nd; 29.9) and total offensive yards (4th; 6,366) during the regular season. The team will count on him to win the battle against opponent Kansas City Chiefs’ well-regarded defensive line.

The third connection is less well known: San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan, one of the youngest NFL coaches ever to make it to the Super Bowl, played one year at Duke under Carl Franks, appearing in eight games and catching one pass.  He transferred to the University of Texas in 2000.

Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.  It will be broadcast on the Fox network.