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49ers sign running back Glenn Winston, after pre-draft conversation

The San Francisco 49ers made a roster move on Monday. After designating Kendall Hunter waived/injured, the team signed rookie running back Glenn Winston. We break down what we know about the UDFA.


The San Francisco 49ers waived/injured Kendall Hunter earlier this afternoon, and they quickly found a replacement for him. The team announced this evening that they have signed running back Glenn Winston, a UDFA out of Norwood University. The 49ers actually spoke with Winston after his Pro Day workout back in March, and did some digging on him.

Winston originally went to Michigan State, and was their starting running back as a sophomore in 2009. He tore his ACL in October of that year, and throughout all this time, his life went into a bit of a tailspin. In 2008, Winston was arrested for assault after getting in a fight with a Michigan State hockey player. The hockey player was left with a fractured skull and a concussion. Winston eventually plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery, and misdemeanor aggravated assault, for which he served 6 months in jail.

In 2009, a month after the ACL injury, he got into a fight with a fraternity member he claimed jumped him the previous night. Winston was the first to report the incident to his coaches, and was quickly kicked off the team. He served another six months in jail for violating the probation from the earlier fight.

The Detroit Free Press had a solid article about those incidents, as well as Winston's life since then. He was out of school and football for a couple years, but eventually ended up at Norwood for what was essentially his junior year of college. It's a bit of a fluff piece, but you can get at least some kind of idea of what his life was like the last couple years. It seems like he has grown from his mistakes, and at 25, has finally started to mature into a sensible adult.

Given the under-the-radar nature of Norwood, there is not much in the way of scouting reports. This article is a big time fluff piece, with the author claiming Winston ran a 40 in the 4.38-4.42 range. According to NFL Draft Scout, at the Eastern Michigan Pro Day in March, Winston ran a 4.69 40, and measured in at 6'0, 227 pounds.

The 49ers numerous running back injuries will give Winston a chance to show his stuff, but he is most likely battling for a practice squad spot at best. He is the 49ers second running back addition over the last week, following Alfonso Smith. Both are going to have a lot of work ahead of them to earn a roster spot. But this is better than no chance at all. We'll see how quickly Winston gets on the field. The 49ers have a Tuesday practice, then a mock game on Wednesday, then their matchup with the Ravens on Thursday. I would be surprised if Winston saw the field, but if he is a quick learner of the playbook, maybe he gets some fourth quarter time. If not, we'll probably see him the next week against Denver.