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Two Former Vols Make 49ers Official 53-Man Roster

Jennings 49ers
VFL and Current 49ers WR Jauan Jennings. Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI.

The San Francisco 49ers have officially trimmed their roster down to 53 players, which came as good news to two former Tennessee players and natives. After an injury held him out of his rookie season, VFL Jauan Jennings will be on the 49ers’ official roster for his second season in the NFL. In addition, former Tennessee player and Hendersonville, TN native Jalen Hurd has also officially made the team.

Both Jennings and Hurd have been working hard in training camp to compete for a spot on the roster. Jennings, in particular, had himself a great camp. Head coach Kyle Shanahan even said that he wanted his other receivers to play more like Jennings, praising his old school mentality.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with Jauan,” Shanahan said about the WR’s play after the 49ers’ first preseason game. “How he’s gone out there and done that. And it’s only one game in, but I need everyone else to get to that level also.”

In the three 49ers preseason games this year, Jauan Jennings caught two receptions for 41 yards. He also added in two rushes for twenty-three yards. However, neither of those rushing attempts were traditional runs. Instead, on both occasions, Jennings was lined up as a wide receiver but caught a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage.

“It’s old school, and [Jennings] goes out there, and he competes,” Kyle Shanahan said at 49ers camp. “It’s been nice for him to get back, get healthy, and it was good to see him in his first game. That’s how he looked in college. Jauan, he plays like his hair is on fire, and I think a lot of our receivers can learn from watching him.”

From Murfreesboro, TN, Jennings came to Tennessee as part of the 2015 class. He was a four-star recruit at the time, but he would leave Knoxville a legend five years later. But during his first year with San Francisco, Jennings suffered a hamstring injury that took most of his season from him. 

So, determined to regain his spot on the field, Jennings went out in training camp and, well, played like his hair was on fire. And in San Francisco, that kind of energy and passion is noticed.

Hendersonville native Jalen Hurd also landed a spot on the 49ers’ official roster. In addition, both Hurd and Jennings will be part of the Bay’s crowded six-man wide receiver room.

Hurd, as a recruit, was a five-star running back and the top-ranked player in the state of Tennessee from the 2014 class. However, after three seasons with Tennessee, Hurd transferred to Baylor for his final senior season. Hurd was then a third-round selection by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2019 NFL draft.

Jennings 49ers

However, Hurd is entering his third year in the NFL now but has also had some pretty terrible injury luck.

Hurd had to sit out of his first two NFL seasons due to a back injury in 2019 and an ACL tear in the 2020 training camp. But, Hurd has made a full recovery from those injuries and is back on the field in 2021.

In the 49ers’ final preseason game, Hurd led the team in receptions with four, which went for 25 yards. Hurd also added in a rushing attempt on the box score, which went for two yards.

As the San Francisco 49ers gear up for the season opener, they will move into the regular season with two former Tennessee players and Volunteer State natives, VFL Jauan Jennings and Jalen Hurd.

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