Jim Harbaugh, who lamented missing out on drafting former Stanford fullback Owen Marecic in 2011, finally has his man. The team signed Marecic, a free agent, to a one-year contract today while placing nose tackle Ian Williams on injured reserve with a broken ankle.
Williams had surgery Monday after suffering the injury in the first quarter Sunday when a Seahawks guard who was blocking him low landed on his lower leg. Glenn Dorsey will take over as the team's starting nose tackle. On Monday, Harbaugh said the 49ers would look at adding another nose tackle but have not at this point. They have one player, undrafted rookie Mike Purcell, on the practice squad. Another, rookie Quinton Dial, is eligible to play after Week 6.
Marecic, meanwhile, worked out for the 49ers late last month after being released by the Browns, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2011. The 49ers have a good fullback in Bruce Miller. Like many 49ers offensive players, Miller struggled in Sunday's loss to Seattle.
Marecic, 24, also played inside linebacker for Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and he likely will be used on special teams and as a reserve at fullback and linebacker. While at Stanford, he rushed for 67 yards and nine touchdowns on 36 carries, while adding 25 receptions for 258 yards and a touchdown. Marecic also had 55 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two interceptions on defense.
During the 2011 draft, Harbaugh said he wished he could have landed Marecic.
"We did everything we could to get him here and we came up short on that one," he said. "Cleveland got an outstanding football player in Owen Marecic. Like Trent (Baalke) said, I'm going to be, in my mind, associated with Owen Marecic for a long time and following him and his career. I'll be a fan because I love the way he plays football. I texted him and said we tried. It didn't happen. That was one that we didn't get that is a 49er kind of guy and Cleveland will be very happy with him and that was a heck of a job by them."
Linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, spent five games on the 49ers' 53-man roster last season. However, until this point he has been the only ex-Harbaugh protege on San Francisco's active roster since Harbaugh became the head coach. Another former pupil, Andrew Luck, visits on Sunday.
The 49ers also reached an injury settlement with defensive lineman Will Tukuafu, who injured his knee last week. That means the 49ers could sign Tukuafu later this season.
-- Matt Barrows