Ronald Awatt is a tough runner who can crash through tackles, but he might be needing to crash through a few barriers to find a spot on the 49ers roster for Week 1.
Welcome to the third installment of The Undrafted Corner, where we take a deeper dive into the undrafted free-agent class of the San Francisco 49ers. Preseason games and training camp mean little for the entrenched stars with roster spots waiting for them, but it's the fringe players and rookies who play as their lives depend on it.
In a professional context, that's no exaggeration.
We've been in the backfield for the first two installments looking at running back Khalan Laborn and fullback Jack Colletto, and we'll be staying there one more time as we look at the second running back UDFA in Ronald Awatt from UTEP.
Read More: Is Jack Colletto the 49ers' future at fullback?
Awatt enjoyed a solid senior season for the Miners running for 734 yards at 4.5 yards per carry and two touchdowns for the season, but he wasn't a factor in the receiving game with only six receptions for 76 yards.
Awatt doesn't possess blazing speed, and he's an old rookie at 25 years of age, but he's NFL-ready, physically, at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, and it never hurts to have a runner on the roster who can get yards after contact.
The problem facing Awatt is his fellow UDFA teammate, Laborn, looks to be a more complete player in every aspect, physically, so Awatt will have to impress heavily in drills and preseason games. If Awatt can't contribute in the passing game and is stuck as a two-down running back, he'll need to show himself to be a tough runner who can fit into the 49ers system.
The good news for Awatt is the 49ers are a very friendly spot for a talented running back, even one who isn't drafted. With the need to keep star Christian McCaffrey fresh, there's always going to be room for a talented and hungry teammate to take up the slack.
Awatt might face an uphill battle, but he's at least found himself in the best possible situation to have a fair crack at making the roster.