Lemonier decided to attend Auburn University where he totaled 100 tackles, 17.0 sacks, 24 tackles-for-loss and seven forced fumbles in his 39 games.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound SEC product played as a defensive end in college. With the 49ers, he’ll make the transition to outside linebacker. Leavitt, the upbeat instructor, will be instrumental in helping Lemonier’s conversion. So will defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who personally works with the outside linebackers during individual periods of 49ers practice.
Lemonier appreciated Leavitt’s upbeat attitude when the 49ers opened up a three-day rookie minicamp on Friday. It was very similar to the coach’s demeanor on the recruiting trail not long ago.
“I knew he had that type of energy from recruiting when he was at USF,” shared Lemonier, a first-team All-SEC performer as a sophomore and second-team selection as a junior. “He brings it.”
With the help of a passionate coach, Lemonier is eager to go from a 4-3 defensive end in college to a stand up outside edge rusher in San Francisco’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
“Standing up, I don’t think it’s going to be too hard of a transition,” Lemonier said. “I’m just excited about this whole new change.”
The Hialeah, Fla., native is already appreciating his new surroundings at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara. Lemonier said, “I love this place already.”
On the very first day of his professional job, Lemonier enjoyed the teaching style of San Francisco’s coaching staff who made things easy to understand for the 2013 rookie class.
“They did a pretty good job of explaining the plays, so that right there, it wasn’t too bad,” Lemonier said. “Going outside and running around, it wasn’t too bad at all.”
Lemonier will have to learn the finer details of dropping into coverage, plus develop pass-catching ability to intercept passes in short spaces. The 49ers linebackers consistently work on pass coverage drills as well as catching rifled passes from defensive assistant coach Peter Hansen.
Lemonier is taking each learning experience in stride. He hopes to add depth to an established group of outside linebackers, led by starters
Lemonier’s eager to soak up knowledge from the veterans on the 49ers defense and pointed out that cornerback
For the next two days of camp, Lemonier will continue to learn the details of playing outside linebacker and work on his fundamentals as he prepares for Organized Team Actitives with the veterans on the 49ers.
Cool coaches and an even cooler climate make the experience easier to handle for Lemonier. But he’s also appreciative of seeing so many familiar SEC foes, turned teammates in the locker room with the 49ers.
“Some of the guys that were picked I saw them at the combine or played against them in college,” Lemonier said. “It’s crazy to see.”