The 49ers are busy as they prepare for their rookie minicamp. The team announced four-year deals for offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, cornerback Demmodore Lenoir, safety Talanoa Hufanga, and running back Elijah Mitchell.
Even though each of those four players was selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, each player has a good chance of making the 49ers roster. They won’t be a shoo-in, but I’d say they have the upper hand at their respective positions.
That’s not the case for the five undrafted free agents the Niners signed on Thursday. The team announced the signings of five UDFAs, including offensive lineman Alfredo Gutierrez, linebackers Justin Hilliard and Elijah Sullivan, tight end Josh Pederson, and wide receiver Austin Watkins Jr.
Here are the bios for each UDFA, per the team’s press release:
OL Alfredo Gutierrez
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Grew up playing youth football in Mexico before moving to the U.S. Upon graduating high school, he enrolled in junior college before returning home to Mexico and joining Tec de Monterrey on a full athletic scholarship. Graduated from Tec de Monterrey, where he won a National Championship in 2019. Joins the 49ers as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, will be on the roster until the end of training camp, where he is eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, granting the 49ers an extra practice squad member that is ineligible to be activated during the 2021 season. Born 12/29/95 in Tijuana, Mexico.
LB Justin Hilliard
Appeared in 50 games (7 starts) during his 6 years at Ohio State (2015-20) and registered 84 tackles, 9 TFLs, 3 FRs, 2 INTs and 1 FF. In 2020, appeared in 6 games (4 starts) and tallied 33 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3 FRs, 1 FF and 1 INT after being granted a 6th year of eligibility. As a junior, saw action in 12 games (3 starts) and recorded 13 tackles, 3 TFLs and 1 INT. In 2018, appeared in 12 games and notched 20 tackles and 1 TFL. As a redshirt freshman, saw action in 14 games and registered 14 tackles after appearing in 3 games and finishing with 4 tackles the year prior in 2016. Redshirted in 2015. Attended St. Xavier (Cincinnati, OH) HS where he finished with 71 tackles and 5.0 sacks as a senior. Born 3/25/97 in Cincinnati, OH.
TE Josh Pederson
Appeared in 44 games (33 starts) during his 5-year career at Louisiana Monroe (2016-20) and registered 99 recepts. for 1,191 yds. and 11 TDs. In 2020, started all 10 games and tallied 32 recepts. for 367 yds. As a junior, earned First-Team All-Sun Belt honors. Started all 12 games and recorded 43 recepts. for 567 yds. and 9 TDs. In 2018, appeared in 11 games (5 starts) and notched 12 recepts. for 121 yds. and 2 TDs. As a redshirt freshman, saw action in 11 games (6 starts) and registered 12 recepts. for 136 yds. Redshirted in 2016. Attended Blue Valley North (Overland Park, KS) HS where he had 73 career receptions for 1,102 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2 seasons. Born 9/22/97 in Green Bay, WI.
LB Elijah Sullivan
Appeared in 48 games (24 starts) during his 6 years at Kansas State (2015-20) and registered 144 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 6 PDs, 2.0 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FFs and 1 FR. In 2020, started all 8 games in which he appeared and tallied 40 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 INT and 1 PD after being granted a 6th year of eligibility and earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors.
As a junior started all 13 games and recorded 65 tackles, 5.0 TFLs, 5 PDs, 1.0 sack and 1 INT. In 2018, appeared in 3 games (1 start) and notched 7 tackles before being granted a medical redshirt.
As a sophomore saw action in 13 games (2 starts) and registered 28 tackles, 2 FFs, 1 FR, 1.0 TFL, and 1.0 sack. In 2016, appeared in 11 games and finished with 4 tackles. Redshirted in 2015. Attended Tucker (GA) HS where he helped lead the Tigers to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the state playoffs. Born 5/13/97 in Tucker, GA.
WR Austin Watkins Jr.
Alabama at Birmingham
Appeared in 25 games (17 starts) in 3 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2018-20) and registered 98 recepts. for 1,642 yds. and 9 TDs. He transferred to UAB from Dodge City (KS) Community College (2016-17) where he made 19 starts and added 62 recepts. for 706 yds. and 5 TDs. In 2020, earned First-Team All-Conference USA honors as he started all 7 games in which he appeared in and tallied 34 recepts. for 468 yds. and 3 TDs.
As a junior, earned Second-Team All-Conference USA honors. Saw action in 14 games (10 starts) and recorded 57 recepts. for 1,092 yds. and 6 TDs, becoming just 1 of 3 players in school history to register 1,000-or-more rec. yds in a single. In 2018, appeared in 4 games and notched 7 recepts. for 82 yds. and was granted a redshirt season. In 2017 at Dodge City CC, made 9 starts and registered 24 recepts. for 330 yds. and 4 TDs. As a freshman in 2016, started all 10 games in which he appeared and finished with 38 recepts. for 376 yds. and 1 TD. Attended North Fort Myers (FL) HS. Born 2/16/98 in Fort Myers, FL.