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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

5 things to know about new 49ers DB Myles Hartsfield

Mar 18, 2023 at 3:43 PM--

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The 49ers added depth to their defensive back room Saturday with the signing of former Carolina Panthers cornerback/safety Myles Hartsfield, who will be joining the team on a one-year deal.

Hartsfield (5-11, 210) played in 41 games with the Panthers after joining the team as an undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss in 2020. He played in 16 games as a rookie, then moved into the starting lineup in 2021 after missing time early in the season due to a wrist injury. Hartsfield totaled 45 tackles, one sack and four passes defensed in 10 games (nine starts) in 2021, then started 10 of 15 games in 2022 and made 59 tackles, one forced fumble, and two passes defensed.

Here's a look at what to know about Hartsfield's career to this point, both on and off the field.

Where does he fit in with the 49ers?

Hartsfield, 25, will be reuniting with new 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who served as the secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator in Carolina before becoming interim head coach in 2022. Hartsfield has the versatility to help in multiple areas on defense (Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that Hartsfield will get looks as a slot corner and a safety). Hartsfield also gained plenty of special teams experience during his three years with the Panthers.

Hartsfield may have to battle for a roster spot in the preseason, especially if the 49ers bring in more defensive backs in the draft. But his experience and ability to fill different roles will certainly help him when the time comes. And maybe he can even chip in on offense if he needs to...

Can Hartsfield play running back if need be?

Hartsfield put up big numbers as a running back in high school in Sayreville, New Jersey. According to MaxPreps, Hartsfield had 1,586 yards on 118 carries for a whopping 13.4 yards-per-carry average as a junior.

Former Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was aware of Hartsfield's potential as a running back and lined him up in the backfield early in his NFL career to see what he could do. He wound up getting just two carries for two yards. Hartsfield was surprised to be even considered at running back and even more surprised when the Panthers actually worked him into the game plan.

"I mean, I'm sitting in the same meeting room with Christian McCaffrey. I was like, 'Is this real?'" Hartsfield said in 2021, per "I thought they were blowing smoke at first, but I get to the hotel the night before the game, and I'm looking at the first 15 (play) script, and I'm in there, it's like, 'What's going on? They're really going to give me the ball.'

"Then, as soon as I got hit, it's like 'OK, this is why I play defense.' But I hadn't done in it five years, so my two carries for 2 yards were like living the dream."

The 49ers have plenty to work with at running back at the moment, including McCaffrey. But if for some reason they ever needed Hartsfield to carry the ball, he'd gladly agree.

"I'm a guy who, if coach tells me go be the kicker, I'm going to say alright, and I'm going to do it," Hartsfield said in 2020, per

A great athlete destined for football

Hartsfield showed an ability for athletics at a young age, but he proved to be a bit too intense for the other kids in his age group. According to, Hartsfield's father Darrel was once told by a coach that Myles was too aggressive for T-Ball at age five, then was told the same thing when he played flag football at age six. But Hartsfield's performance on the football field was the first spark that put him on the path towards much bigger things.

"I think that gave him the confidence – 'I can play this game; I can do this.' That started it," Darrel said.

Hartsfield also participated in basketball as well as track, where he was a standout performer in the triple jump. Hartsfield won All-American status in the event during his senior year in high school.

Hartsfield was clocked at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash with a 38.5-inch vertical leap during a pro day that was conducted by TEST Football Academy in New Jersey in March of 2020 (Hartsfield's pro day at Ole Miss was cancelled due to COVID-19).

A career setback

After a standout junior season, Hartsfield was at the center of a major controversy as a high school senior when Sayreville's season was cancelled due to a disturbing hazing incident. Seven players were arrested as a result of the incident, but no names of the players were released due to them being minors. Hartsfield was verbally committed to play college football at Penn State at the time, but he saw his scholarship offer pulled and eventually wound up at East Coast Prep in Massachusetts before starting his college career at Ole Miss.

Hartsfield was interviewed about his experience by in 2015.

"It was hard for the town at first," Hartsfield said. "There's a lot of he-said, she-said getting information from media and half the stuff was crazy. The truth isn't always the best story, the story that sells newspapers. It's the lie or the exaggeration. People are going to believe that. ….People won't believe the truth."

Hartsfield wouldn't discuss the details of the incident or what, if any, role he played, but he did say he had grown as a result of having to deal with the negative publicity as well as his decision to move to a more structured environment at East Coast Prep. Hartsfield also said he came to terms with the fact he'll be asked about it the rest of his life.

"I'm OK with that, I'm really OK," Hartsfield said. "I don't regret it. I've fought through it. I've been through it and I'll know how to handle the problems the next time. I have a story to tell now.

"I can go back to my high school and tell kids this is what happened, I have a testimony. I sat down in front of 500 people at church, talked about it, totally comfortable. I know my story won't help a lot of people, but it will help a few people."

Busy off the field

Hartsfield has his hands in a number of activities away from football. He opened a gym in New Jersey called Limitless Fitness in 2021 and has also been active with podcasting. According to, Hartsfield majored in broadcast communications in Ole Miss and hopes to eventually become a television analyst. Hartsfield also has his own web site and his own charity -- The Hartz Foundation.


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