Former Gamecocks Thompson, Byrd named to NFL practice squads

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Dylan Thompson passes for a 70-yard touchdown to wide receiver Bruce Ellington during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers last Thursday. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

A pair of undrafted rookies from South Carolina have landed on NFL practice squads.

Quarterback Dylan Thompson and wide receiver Damiere Byrd, both cut earlier in the week as teams reduced to 53-man rosters for the regular season, were retained as practice squad players Sunday by the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, respectively.

The 10-man squads are reserved for rookies or first-year players who will be able to attend all meetings and practices, but are not allowed to dress for home games or travel to road contests. Former Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw was named to the Cleveland Browns practice squad last year, and was called up to start the season finale due to injuries suffered by the team’s other signal-callers.

Thompson last year set a single-season passing record at USC, throwing for 3,564 yards, in addition to 26 touchdowns. Byrd last season caught 20 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, and caught the attention of NFL scouts with a fast 40-yard dash time during South Carolina’s pro day.

In the preseason with the 49ers, Thompson completed 24-of-40 attempts for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He was 17-of-25 with 255 yards and two scores in San Francisco’s exhibition finale last Thursday against San Diego. Byrd in the preseason caught six passes for 67 yards and one touchdown, that score coming in the Panthers’ Aug. 22 exhibition victory over Miami.

Former USC running back Mike Davis (drafted in the fourth round) and offensive tackle Corey Robinson (drafted in the seventh round) each made their respective 53-man rosters with the 49ers and Detroit Lions. Former Gamecocks tight end Rory Anderson, drafted in the seventh round by San Francisco, was placed on injured reserve.