During the final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013, we will take a moment each week to look at various aspects of the football program.



Feb. 10, 2013

By Tom Whitestone

The 49ers added their second recruiting class this past week.  Twenty student-athletes officially joined Niner Nation -- including four transfers: Devon Johnson, Martay Mattox, James Williams, Jr. and Mark Hogan. 

In December, the 49ers added three transfers: CJ Crawford, Mikel Hunter, Caleb Clayton-Molby.  In the fall, additional transfers like Desmond Cooper, Daniel Blitch, Duke Mosby and Danny Book joined the team.

That gives the 49ers start-up program a good dose of age.   Some are from junior colleges while others are from four-year institutions like Air Force, Wake Forest, Marshall, Albany and Georgia State. 

The 49ers are likely to add more transfers between today and opening day.

The goal is to mix experience into the young team -- in an effort to look little like a start-up program come opening day.

Those familiar with the program know the 49ers don't exactly look like a first-year program.  Though they haven't played a game, they do boast an eye-catching stadium complete with a rave-reviewed weight room.  They have a coaching staff with 100 years and 21 bowl games of coaching experience.  And they already have a spot waiting for them in an FBS Conference.

Head coach Brad Lambert wanted to be sure the roster also had experience that belied its age.  Not by accident, his staff secured age on the offensive line, the defensive line, the backfield, the receivers, the linebackers and the secondary.

In the fall, Lambert admitted you could tell which positions had veterans.  He wanted to make sure that leadership was spread across the board.

He was careful, though, not to take age for the sake of age.  He knew the veterans he brought in would be leaders, almost by default.  As such, he needed to be sure those transfers took that responsibility seriously.

He needed guys that would help set the tone and would lead by example.

Those transfers are much like the stadium, the weight room and the coaching staff.  They are, in a way, a cornerstone of this young program.  They'll be looked to for guidance.  They'll be looked to distinguish right from the wrong.  They'll show the younger players how to practice, how to prepare and how to perform. And they'll let the younger players know exactly what college football is all about.

Some of them are just now being introduced to the team.  A more important day will come later -- when they help introduce the team to college football.