Tramaine Brock rises to earn defensive honors

The 49ers’ unheralded ball hawk earned his due this week.

Third-year cornerback Tramaine Brock was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Sunday night’s 34-3 win over the Houston Texans.

Brock made one tackle, had two pass deflections, and snared two interceptions, including an 18-yard return for a touchdown to notch the game’s first score just minutes in.

Concerning the initial pick-six, Brock said post-game:

“We really didn’t know that was going to come right there. … We called a trap, so I just did my job, did my technique, and the ball came to me and I made a play.”

Brock’s coverage impressed head coach Jim Harbaugh, who now has him penciled in as the No. 3 cornerback over veteran Nnamdi Asomugha, who’s missed back-to-back games with a knee injury:

“When you play like that, you’re going to continue to play. So I’m sure there will be more opportunity for him. So we’re excited about that.”

Brock’s ascension from NAIA standout to the NFC’s top defender for Week 5 has been a long one.

From 2006-2007 he starred at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he won an NJCAA championship and notably intercepted seven passes his sophomore year – so yes he’s been a ball-hawk for some time.

He soon became a starter at Minnesota where he became one of the Gophers defensive studs, but in 2009 academic issues forced him to transfer to Belhaven University in Jackson where he registered 51 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and six interceptions including two for touchdowns.

His touchdown on Sunday was his first return for touchdown since his days with the Blazers.

Brock went undrafted in 2010, but worked his way onto the 49ers practice squad and later saw action in three games.

He opened 2011 as the team’s nickel back and picked off passes in the first two games before a hand injury allowed Chris Culliver to emerge and spent last season primarily on special teams.

Brock’s Belhaven head coach Joe Thrasher was pleased to see Brock finally getting recognized:

“I could not be more proud of Tramaine. He continues to grow in the league and I think a lot of teams are paying attention to Tramaine.”

Brock gets his shot at Carson Palmer this Sunday at 1:25 p.m. when the 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park.


Follow @SFBay and @drewmorita on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the San Francisco 49ers.