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How Jim Harbaugh, 49ers Found Undrafted Free Agent QB Kory Faulkner

Posted May 16, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers coach and assistant Geep Chryst watched film of 40 to 50 college quarterbacks and clearly like what they saw from the Southern Illinois signal-caller.

Southern Illinois is not a breeding ground for quarterbacks, at least not yet. 

But that didn’t stop Jim Harbaugh from stopping in town last month. 

From a pool of 40 to 50 college quarterbacks that the San Francisco 49ers coach and his quarterbacks specialist, Geep Chryst, evaluated on film before the NFL Draft, Kory Faulkner stood out.

The 49ers signed Faulkner as part of their seven-man undrafted free agent class on Monday.

“Feel really good about him as a person and a player. We like him,” said Harbaugh, who visited with Faulkner on his way back from Ohio, where his brother, John Harbaugh, was being honored at Miami University. “He’s got a good arm. He’s smart. Strong guy. Got a good-boned guy. And tough.”

The two men didn’t play catch during their first meeting. Faulkner broke his index finger in Southern Illinois’ eighth game of the season and missed time due to the injury, while Harbaugh recently had surgery on his right hand.

"We were able to go out to eat, had a great time and built a great relationship," Faulkner told 49ers.com on Friday. "It is very stressful because you talk to all 32 teams, but every team is talking to 20 or so quarterbacks. For him to be honest with me throughout the whole draft process meant a lot to me."

Harbaugh said Faulkner said ran some elements of the spread offense while also taking snaps under center. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound signal-caller threw 18 touchdowns and four interceptions during his shortened senior year, his fifth overall in the program.

Now he's five days into his pro career with the 49ers.

"The Niners locker room is a little bit different than the Salukis locker room," said Faulkner, who's worn No. 18 during 'Football School' this week. "It was cool to meet Colin Kaepernick. When you think of the Niners, you think of Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Willis. To be on the same practice field as Kaepernick and take any information he gives you, it's awesome. I'm having a blast, learning a ton."

Harbaugh held court with the rookie class this week and told his newest, youngest players to take advantage of this "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

"I'm just trying to get better every single day, whether it's with my footwork or my reads," Faulkner said. "Being with Harbaugh, he's with me the whole time, and we worked on a lot of footwork. To be able to learn from him, that's like a dream come true. It's awesome, but it's competitive at the same time."

After all, Faulkner is one of just four quarterbacks on the roster competing to back up Kaepernick. He said he will spend the weekend toying with his iPad playbook.

"I'm going to come back Monday," he said, "and make sure I know everything that's be installed already."

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