49ers pick up fifth-year option on Arik Armstead


49ers pick up fifth-year option on Arik Armstead

The 49ers have picked up the fifth-year option for the 2019 season on 2015 first-round draft pick Arik Armstead, but the club will not exercise the option on guard Laken Tomlinson.

Armstead, 24, the No. 17 overall pick of the 2015 draft from Oregon, has appeared in just 30 games in his three-year career. He recorded 50 tackles and six sacks. Armstead finished the past two seasons in injured reserve with separate shoulder and hand injuries.

As a defensive end selected from picks 11 to 32, the fifth-year option for Armstead is $9.046 million. The money does not become fully guaranteed until the start of the 2019 league year in March. Up to that point, the money is guaranteed for injury only.

The 49ers assumed the decision on Tomlinson after he was acquired in a trade from the Detroit Lions shortly before the start of last season. Tomlinson was chosen with the No. 28 overall pick from Duke in 2015, but the Lions traded him to the 49ers for a fifth-round selection in this week’s draft.

Tomlinson, 26, started 24 of 30 games in his first two seasons with Detroit. He entered the 49ers’ starting lineup in Week 2 and started the final 15 games at left guard. The fifth-year option price for all offensive lineman selected from picks 11 to 32 is $9.625 million.

Tomlinson, Jonathan Cooper, Joshua Garnett, Zane Beadles and Erik Magnuson are in line to compete for the 49ers' starting guard positions this season.

49ers legend Steve Young presents Gatorade Player of the Year Award winner


49ers legend Steve Young presents Gatorade Player of the Year Award winner

Sophie Jones runs the soccer field -- both literally and figuratively. 

She tallied 18 goals, 16 assists and 1.55 points per game for the Knights of Menlo School in Menlo, Calif. This helped lift the team to a 20-win season, which turned into a Central Coast Section Division 1 tournament title. With those achievements, she walked away with the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year honor. 

A friend presented the senior with the trophy -- and not just any friend ... 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young:

"It's such an honor and I can't believe they chose me," Jones said in Gatorade's promotional presentation video.

To add to it, Jones maintains solid numbers off the field as well with a 3.65 GPA which helps her to be scouted by some of the nation's top athletics programs. According to Gatorade, she plans to attend Duke later this year. 

The "stellar human being with a fierce inner strength" as her teachers describe her, also volunteers for a U-14 youth soccer team and the Boys and Girls Club and has worked at the Special Olympics Buddy Program. That shows in her playing abilities on the field as well with her coach saying he's never witnessed such a selfless player.

"Sophie worked tirelessly to elevate her game year after year, becoming high-impact talent. She wins balls, finishes, defends, disrupts and creates in transition, and arguably reads the game as well as any U-20 player in the world," said Chad Konecky, Gatorade Player of the Year director.

Young complimented Jones calling the achievement an exciting one -- one in which very few have ever done, 

Congrats Sophie!

49ers' Mitch Wishnowsky has deep repertoire of punts from Aussie rules days


49ers' Mitch Wishnowsky has deep repertoire of punts from Aussie rules days

Mitch Wishnowsky admits he could have been more consistent during the 49ers’ recently concluded offseason program.

The rookie punter, at his best, was very good and gave his teammates and coaches a reason to believe a fourth-round draft pick spent on a punter was a worthy investment.

The 49ers selected the native of Australia with the No. 110 overall selection. General manager John Lynch opted to fill the spot vacated when Bradley Pinion signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rather than select a defensive back or an offensive lineman.

Wishnowsky has an assortment of different punts, which he picked up playing a sport in which punters are not considered specialists. Everyone must learn to punt, oftentimes while on the move, in the game Wishnowsky played back home.

“A lot of the punts you sort of learn growing up playing Australian rules football,” Wishnowsky said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “There’s tradeoffs with every punt.”

Wishnowsky explained his different styles:

“The stock-standard end-over-end punt is a lot more accurate but you can’t get quite as much height or distance on it.

“The spiral, obviously, is the biggest ball. It goes the highest and the furthest.

“The helicopter punt is great, very hard to catch. You can’t kick it quite as far as the spiral. But if you slightly mishit it, it’s going the opposite direction that you want it to.”

Wishnowsky moved to California to punt on the Santa Barbara City College football team in 2014. He transferred to the University of Utah, where he won the 2016 Ray Guy Award and was the only three-time finalist in the history of the award.

The only downside of his final college season was three blocked punts, something he worked to eliminate during his offseason with the 49ers.

“I’ve got to get the ball off in 1.3 seconds, which is what I’ve been doing pretty consistently,” Wishnowsky said. “And the snap is a .7. So if the whole operation is 2 seconds or below, you should be good. Then, also launch point. You want to pretty much as it hits your foot (you’re) directly behind the snapper, so you’re not at risk of getting it blocked.”

[RELATED: Why No. 2 QB job between Beathard and Mullens is toss-up entering camp]

Wishnowsky also will be the 49ers’ holder and, likely, handle kickoff duties. He said he has yet to speak with veteran kicker Robbie Gould, who remains unsigned as the team’s franchise player. Gould has demanded a trade. The 49ers said they will not trade him.

In the meantime, Jonathan Brown, who spent the three previous offseasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and has not appeared in an NFL regular-season game, was the only kicker in Santa Clara.

“The last two years, I’ve been with Matt (Gay), who was drafted to Tampa Bay (in the fifth round),” Wishnowsky said. “I’ve been around great kickers, and Jon is up there. He’s phenomenal the way he contacts the ball. Jon is a very impressive kicker.”