Of course there is area interest in Eastern Illinois University alum Jimmy Garoppolo, who will quarterback San Francisco in Sunday’s NFC title game. And Danville’s Trent Sherfield is a receiver with the 49ers. But there is another local connection with the 49ers. San Francisco long snapper Taybor Pepper is the son of former Illini offensive lineman Cam Pepper and Illinois alum Donna Pepper.
Taybor Pepper, who was born at Carle Foundation Hospital, is in his second season with the 49ers. He was the one who hiked the ball for Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal against Green Bay. There is a video circulating of Pepper retrieving the ball and racing to give it to Gould.
Pepper’s grandparents, Dick and Kay McGuire, watched the playoff game from their Mahomet home. They will be in front of the TV for Sunday’s early evening kickoff against the Los Angeles Rams.
“Oh my, we are so excited,” Dick McGuire said.
Donna and Cam Pepper will be attending Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium along with their daughter, Sloane; Taybor’s wife, Haley; and her mom, Christine. Taybor and Haley are expecting their first child.
Cam and Donna currently live in Bayles Lake near Loda. Cam recently took a job with WCIA.
Taybor Pepper, who played at Michigan State, is with his fifth NFL team. He had previous stints with the Packers, Ravens, Giants and Dolphins.
The wildcard round playoff win against Dallas came in Taybor Pepper’s first postseason game. Now, he is a win away from a Super Bowl appearance.
“He’s worked really, really hard,” his grandpa said. “We have a great sense of pride for his accomplishments.
“I talked him the other night and I said ‘Taybor I’m a little scared because you guys are 6-0 recently against the Rams. I don’t want you to be overconfident.’ He said, “i felt the same way when we were 4-0 against them, when we were 5-0 against them. I don’t think we’ll be overconfident.’”