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May 12, 2014
49ers sign six undrafted rookies; release LB Darius Fleming


The 49ers today signed six rookies who went undrafted over the weekend, including Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov and Southern Illinois quarterback Kory Faulker. A seventh, Asante Cleveland, a tight end from Sacramento who played at the University of Miami, is expected to sign shortly.

To make room on the 90-man roster, the team released three players, including linebacker Darius Fleming, a fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft. Fleming tore an ACL in each of the last two seasons and never played a snap for the 49ers. His release means that just two members of that year's draft class -- second-round pick LaMichael James and fourth-round pick Joe Looney -- remain with the squad.

The other two players who were let go are cornerback Dax Swanson and receiver DeMarco Sampson.The 49ers also signed:

* OLB Morgan Breslin, USC, 6-1, 240. He had a team-high 13 sacks last year but suffered a hip injury that limited him to just four sacks his senior year in 2013.

* C Dillon Farrell, New Mexico, 6-4, 303. He was an All-Mountain West honorable mention and has experience at both guard and center.

* OT Fou Fonoti, Michigan State, 6-4, 308. He played in 28 career games with the Spartans, and he started all 12 contests as a senior.

* S L.J. McCray, Catawba, 6-0, 215. Athletic safety who has the potential to stand out on special teams.

Skov is perhaps the most well-known free-agent pickup. He played for Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio at Stanford, leading the team in tackles in 2010, Harbaugh's and Fangio's last year there. Skov tore his ACL the following season, however, then was injured for the scouting combine and Stanford's pro day.

He will compete with third-round draft pick Chris Borland, Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody for a spot at inside linebacker. The winner of that competition likely will start alongside Patrick Willis while NaVorro Bowman recovers from his own ACL tear.

Harbaugh scouted Faulker last month.

Faulkner missed three games with a broken finger in 2013 but still finished with 1,997 yards and averaged nearly 222 passing yards a game. He also rushed 60 times for 283 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns last year. He'll compete with Blaine Gabbert and McLeod Bethel-Thompson for one of the backup spots.

"You're going to like him," Harbaugh said. "He's got a good arm. He's smart. Strong guy. Got a good-boned guy. And tough."

The 260-pound Cleveland, who played at Christian Brothers High in Sacramento, was wooed by the Eagles and Patriots as well. He was offered an $8,000 bonus to join the 49ers where he will compete with Garrett Celek and Derek Carrier for the role of No. 3 tight end.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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