Football

HSU’s Gardner signs with the 49ers

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Thomas Allie/HSU Athletics – Former HSU running back Ja’Quan Gardner signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday.

By Ray Hamill – Another former Humboldt State football player is going to get an opportunity to play in the NFL.

The San Francisco 49ers have added running back Ja’Quan Gardner to their roster ahead of this week’s final preseason game with the Los Angeles Chargers, with Gardner penning a three-year deal on Tuesday.

He joins another former HSU standout getting an opportunity to play in the NFL. Gardner’s former teammate Alex Cappa was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of this year’s NFL draft and has been impressive in the preseason.

The 5-foot-7 back, 205-pound Gardner enjoyed four stellar years with the Jacks, culminating in a 2017 senior campaign that saw him run for 1,322 yards and 21 touchdowns.

During an impressive 42-game career with the Jacks, Gardner ran for 5,495 yards and 72 TDs.

He also pulled in 81 catches for 767 yards and four TDs.

Gardner was named a second-team Associated Press Division II All-American as an all-purpose player in 2017.

Gardner will add depth to a 49ers’ backfield that has suffered a lot of injuries to their running backs this summer, including the loss of Joe Williams for the start of the regular season due to a rib injury.

The former Lumberjack was invited to the Niners’ rookie camp in the spring but failed to earn a roster spot for training camp.

He also worked out for the Rams in May.

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area broke the story Monday night.

Gardner remains a long shot to make the regular season roster, with plenty of options available to the 49ers going forward, but an impressive performance against the Rams on Thursday could open other doors for the former HSU star, either with another NFL team in search of a running back or with the Niners further down the road.

The 49ers must trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday afternoon’s league-wide deadline of 1 p.m. PDT.

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