Earlier this week, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula told reporters that former Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne had not yet locked in a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.
Though Hayne had been a sensation as a punt returner and ballcarrier, Tomsula said he still wanted to see Hayne improve in some areas.
After Thursday night’s final exhibition game, a 14-12 victory over the San Diego Chargers, however, there can be no doubt that Hayne will be a 49er when San Francisco opens its season on Monday night, Sept. 14 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Hayne – and several other 49ers – had big nights against the Chargers in their final preseason audition at Levi's Stadium.
Hayne carried the ball 10 times for 58 yards, including a 19-yarder, showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield with two catches for 17 yards – finishing off one run by lowering his shoulder to knock a would-be tackler to the turf – and had a 28-yard punt return.
Apparently, Hayne gave Tomsula everything he wanted to see.
Wrote the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows on Twitter: “Jarryd Hayne showing off his cut-back ability again, also squaring his shoulders at the line of scrimmage, which was an issue previously.”
Meanwhile, wide receivers Bruce Ellington and rookie undrafted free agent DeAndrew White stated their cases. Ellington caught three passes for 86 yards – 70 coming on a touchdown pass from rookie Dylan Thompson – while also returning a punt 26 yards. And White – who looks more and more likely to be on the final roster -- had two catches for 67 yards, three punt returns for an average of 23 yards, and a 26-yard kickoff return.
Following Thursday night’s game, the 49ers will have some decisions to make. The team must get down to 53 players by 1 p.m. Pacific time Saturday.