Undrafted Free Agent Signings

May 7, 2001 at 12:00 AM

After another successful draft, the San Francisco 49ers have spent the past week signing undrafted free agents. The 49ers have had much success in the past with these types of players. Derrick Deese, Dave Fiore, Zack Bronson and Chad Stanley are some of the undrafted talent that the 49ers have on the team. Last season, the three undrafted free agents that made the team were Cedric Killings, Ronnie Heard and Jonas Lewis.

This year the 49ers are looking to find a kicker, a kick returner and add depth to the offensive line, the defensive backfield and at wide receiver with the signing of the undrafted free agents.

Jared McGrath - Running Back – Vanderbilt

A 5’10” 193 lb running back that finished as Vanderbilt’s fifth all-time leading rusher with 2,151 yards. A stocky, muscular runner with the ability to bounce off tacklers and keep his legs churning, who got most of his yards by running over people, not around them.

Tommy Banks – Full Back – LSU

A 6’0” 270lb full back that was used mostly as a blocker. In 2000 he had 89 yards rushing and 15 receptions for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Jasen Isom – Full Back – Western Illinois

A 6’0” 250 lb full back used primarily as a blocker and in short yardage situations.

Keith Stokes – Wide Receiver – East Carolina

A 5’9” 180lb wide receiver that is an electrifying performer. One of the country’s top punt return specialists. Was chosen both preseason and postseason first-team Conference USA as a return specialist. Also became the team’s leading receiver in the 2000 with 29 receptions for 442 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Antonio Chatman – Wide Receiver – Cincinnati

A 5’8” 172lb speed receiver who played a large role in the passing and special teams attack during his career. Started at slot receiver while also seeing time as a kick and punt returner. Possesses 4.47 speed in the 40 with good field awareness, making him an elusive runner.

Hilton Alexander – Wide Receiver – Morris Brown

A 6’1” 183lb wide receiver with good height and speed. Has good hands and can catch the ball that is thrown over his head or shoulder.

Larry Davis – Wide Receiver – New Mexico

A 5’10” 190lb receiver that became a busy return man as well as a quite active special teams player with 18 tackles and a blocked punt in his senior season. He led the Mid-Western Conference in kickoff returns, averaging 25.8 yards on 13 returns. He also had 10 catches for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Grant Heard – Wide Receiver – Mississippi

A 6’2” 200lb receiver that leaves Ole Miss as one of the most prolific receivers in school history, setting career records for receptions (142) and touchdown receptions (16). Also became only the third player in school history to finish his career with over 2,000 career receiving yards. Brother of Ronnie Heard.

Steve Jackson – Wide Receiver – Hofstra

A 5’11” 185lb player that received the 2000 Iron Mike Award as the Hofstra Football Most Valuable Player. He holds the Hofstra career reception and receiving yards records.

James Farris – Wide Receiver – Montana

A 5’10” 195lb very smart receiver with the ability to run good pass routes and help out his quarterback In 2000 he had 63 receptions for 1,255 yards and 12 touchdowns

David Allen – Running Back/Wide Receiver – Kansas State

A 5’8” 194lb versatile offensive skill player that instantaneously impacts the game with his return skills. Can lineup in the backfield or at wide receiver.

James Jordan – Wide Receiver – Louisiana Tech

A 6’1” 232lb receiver that has improved each year and led the nation in receptions with 109 for 1,003 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Neil Johnson – Tight End – Tennessee

A 6’4” 255lb tight end that missed the 2000 season with a knee injury. Only had 2 catches in college career as he was used primarily as a blocking tight end.

Ben Steele – Tight End – Mesa College

A 6’3” 235lb tight end that managed to be productive in an almost all rushing offense.
In 2000 he had 18 receptions for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns (team completed 132 passes)

Jeff McCurley – Offensive Lineman – Pittsburgh

A 6’5” 290lb lineman who received first-team All-Big East honors in 2000. He was ranked as Pitt’s most experienced player. Started 42 consecutive games. Versatile enough to play all the line positions.

Tom Ashworth – Offensive Lineman – Colorado

A 6’5” 295lb lineman that has also seen time as a tight end. In his senior season he was team Co-MVP. His development at the Left tackle position was very impressive considering he missed spring practice after having shoulder surgery.

Dave Costa – Offensive Lineman – Wisconsin

A 6’5” 295lb four-year starter on the offensive line. Has played Right Guard, Left Tackle and Right Tackle. After starting 37 games at Right Guard he switched to Left Tackle and played excellent.

Dan Goodspeed – Offensive Lineman – Kent State and XFL

A 6’6” 300lb Lineman making his second appearance with the 49ers. He has a rare combination of size, speed, strength and athletic ability. Has an excellent work ethic and dedication.

Bruce Wiggins – Offensive Lineman – Arizona

A 6’2” 280lb lineman that looked like a possible late round draft pick in 1999, but injuries and lack of natural size hurt him as a senior. He is very smart and a fine leader with above average ability to block.

Milford Stevenson – Offensive Lineman – Houston, Texas

A 6’2” 285lb versatile lineman that was Second-Team All Big 12 by coaches and Honorable Mention All Big 12 by the Associated Press. In 2000 he shared the team’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman Honor.

Wes Call – Offensive Lineman – Washington

A 6’7” 305lb lineman that came highly recommended to the 49ers. Nice size and decent athletic ability. A developmental type player.

Paul Mandina – Defensive Tackle – Indiana

A 6’4” 305lb honorable mention All-Conference selection by the Big Ten coaches and media. He served as a team captain in 2000 displaying excellent leadership skills. In 2000 he recorded 40 tackles including 3 for loss and recovered 2 fumbles, forced a fumble and broke up 4 passes.

Quincy Stewart – Line Backer – Louisiana Tech

A 6’1” 227lb line backer that recorded two seasons with 100 plus tackles and finished his career with 331 stops. In 2000 he finished with 78 tackles, 60 unassisted, 3 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Ron Ockimey – Line Backer – San Jose State

A 6’1” 203lb line backer who received the Outstanding Linebacker Award in 2000 finishing with 87 tackles, 3 sacks, a fumble recovery, an interception and 2 pass break ups.

John Schlecht – Defensive Lineman – Minnesota

A 6’1” 295lb lineman who has tremendous intangibles and work ethic. He has explosive quickness into the gaps. In 2000 he was a Second-Team All Big Ten Selection and an honorable mention All Big Ten pick with 50 tackles, 38 solos, 12 tackles for loss and a sack

Al Blades – Safety – Miami

A 6’2” 205lb safety that was Miami’s vocal leader and the team’s most emotional player. He is excellent in both run support and coverage. He was a second-team All Big East pick in 1999 and a first-team choice in 2000. He had 87 tackles, four passes broken up and an interception in 2000.

Larry Casher – Defensive Back – Auburn

A 5’10” 166lb corner back that is a good athlete with quick feet and is aggressive in pass coverage. He won All-Sec honors in 1999 with 41 tackles, 12 passes broken up and 5 interceptions. In 2000 he had 43 tackles, 11 passes broken up and one interception.

J.T. Thatcher – Safety/Kick Returner – Oklahoma

A 5’11” 225lb safety that is an excellent special teams player and punt returner. His performance in 2000 earned him first-team All Big 12 honors and a spot on a few All-America teams. He returned 43 punts for 634 yards, a 14.7 average and 2 touchdowns and had 8 interceptions for 162 yards and one touchdown on defense.  

Chris Nofoaiga – Line Backer – Idaho

A 5’10” 230lb line backer that was chosen as a second-team All-American by Football News magazine. He was the Big West Defensive Player of the Year in 1999. Has great speed and shows some pop and explosion as a hitter. Good special teams player. In 2000 he finished with 111 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 passes broken up.

Shane Elam – Defensive End – Mississippi

A 6’1” 240lb lineman that had 9.5 career sacks in only 20 career starts. In 2000 he had 32 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 8 QB hurries, 4 sacks and a forced fumble.

Shawn Hay – Defensive End – South Florida

A 6’4” 260lb end who finished as the school’s career sack leader with 17. Made an impact in his inaugural season with 8 sacks and remained a top pass rushing lineman throughout his career. Finished the 2000 season with 27 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 6 QB pressures, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Brandon Godsey – Safety – Miami of Ohio

A 6’0” 200lb line backer named as Co-MVP of the team in 2000. He recorded 107 tackles, 12 blocked passes, 2 interceptions and a QB hurry. He earned second-team 2000 Mid-American Conference All-League Team status.

Brian Smith – Defensive Back – Massachusetts

A 6’1 200lb strong safety/defensive back that was a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection in 2000. He finished with 59 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 3 pass break ups.  

Jamie Rheem – Kicker- Kansas State

A 6’2” two time Groza Award Winner as the nation’s best kicker. Made 41 of 43 PAT’s and 18 of 21 field goals in 1999 and 49 of 50 PAT’s and 17 of 20 field goals in 2000. Very accurate up to 45 yards and can kick off.

Steve Cheek – Punter – Humboldt State

A 6’4” 205lb punter that averaged 36.2 yards per punt over the last 2 seasons with a long of 63 yards. In 2000 he punted 66 times for a 35.1 average and had one punt blocked. Has already worked out for the 49ers and has impressed the very much.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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