Fullback Bruce Miller and guard Daniel Kilgore were the first of 10 rookie draft picks to sign contracts with the 49ers. Not to be forgotten, 18 undrafted rookies put their names on a dotted line too.
Wednesday was a busy day inside the offices at 4949 Centennial Blvd. and a memorable experience for the newest members of the 49ers.
Undrafted rookies inked three-year contracts earlier in the day and later spoke with the media. The 49er draft picks, Miller (seventh-round) and Kilgore (fifth-round) are signed to four-year deals. Only first-round pick Aldon Smith (No. 7 overall) can sign a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth-year.
Of the 18 undrafted players brought into camp, perhaps none were more talked about in the aftermath of the deals than Notre Dame nose tackle Ian Williams (6-1, 305 lbs.) and Mississippi quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (5-11, 220 lbs.).
Williams was eager to join the 49ers based on a number of factors. He liked the coaching staff and enjoyed his pre-draft conversations with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Williams also saw an opportunity to compete for a defensive line position and wanted to follow in the footsteps of one of his mentors, former 49er great Bryant Young.
Young, a former “Golden Domer” like Williams, played 14 seasons all with the 49ers. The current University of Florida d-line coach mentored Williams while serving as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame.
Williams is all too familiar with Young’s 49ers career. He hopes to emulate it as best he can.
“If I can be half as good as he is, I’ll be satisfied,” Williams said. “Coach Young coached me two years ago when I was a junior and I learned a lot of things from him.”
Like Williams, Masoli has ties to the 49ers. He was born in San Francisco and played football at San Francisco City College before stints at the University of Oregon and Ole Miss.
Masoli was one of many undrafted rookies in awe once they arrived to 49ers headquarters.
“It’s great just walking through these doors,” said the former quarterback, who will play running back with the 49ers. “I’m very thankful; I’m in a blessed situation.”
Masoli was one of several undrafted rookies who attended the team’s local pro day before the draft. There, Masoli was asked to participate in running back drills as well as passing drills. In his estimation, the versatility he showed on the 49ers practice fields helped him capture the team’s attention.
It certainly captured their imagination too.
However, Masoli doesn’t see himself solely as a running back just yet. It’s been a while since he’s carried the football, scout team at SFCC to be exact. Still, Masoli knows it’s just an opportunity to do more on the football field.
“It’s only on paper,” Masoli said. “They can use me at any position at any time. Besides that, I’m just trying to contribute in any way possible.”
The undrafted rookies will get their opportunity to contribute soon, but will have to pass the team’s conditioning test on Thursday before practicing with the team on Friday.
Tags: Bruce Miller, Bryant Young, Daniel Kilgore, Ian Williams, Jeremiah Masoli
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