EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Former UTEP running back Ronald Awatt will get to continue to pursue his dream of playing professional football even though he went undrafted during this weekend’s NFL draft.

Awatt signed a free-agent deal with the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night.

Awatt grinded out a team-high 734 yards on 163 attempts (4.5 avg.) and rushed for a pair of touchdowns during the 2022 season.

He also led the Miners with a career-best 844 yards on 159 carries (5.3 avg.) and rushed for six scores during the 2021 season. Awatt’s efforts helped lead the Miners to a seven-win campaign along with a New Mexico Bowl appearance – UTEP’s first in seven seasons — during the 2021 campaign. He added 159 yards on 11 receptions, gaining 1,002 all-purpose yards.

Overall, Awatt rushed for 1,781 yards on 369 attempts (4.8 avg.) and 11 touchdowns in 44 career games. He added 17 receptions for 235 yards and a long of 65 yards. Awatt hit 100-plus yards in on four different occasions. His most recent 100-yard effort was a season-high 115 yards and a TD in UTEP’s win over NM State this past season. His career best was a 159-yard outburst with a 45-yard reception at Southern Miss during the 2021 season. He rushed for 126 yards against Bethune-Cookman and 119 against Rice in 2021.

The 49ers are coming off a 13-4 campaign with an NFC West title and a trip to the NFC Championship Game.

Awatt, a product of Lubbock, Texas, first signed with UTEP as a running back out of Frenship High School before switching to defensive back prior to the 2018 season. He made the switch back to running back in 2020 where he gained 190 yards and scored three touchdowns in six games played.