The 49ers welcomed their third largest recruiting class on Wednesday
The first Wednesday in February is a date marked on the calendars of football programs nationwide. On this date recruits send in their national letters of intent informing schools of their commitment to play football there in the fall.
Charlotte welcomed 18 new members to Niner Nation Wednesday in addition to the four mid-December signees. In total, the 22 member signing class marks the third largest in the program’s six years of recruiting.
“We set a goal four years ago. We didn’t want to get to today and have to replace the biggest class leaving our program with the biggest class again. This was the third largest class we’ve signed since we’ve been here, so I think we accomplished that goal. We didn’t want to sign the first class, let them play it out, and then be back to square one in 2017,” head coach Brad Lambert said.
With the excitement surrounding Larry Ogunjobi and his stellar Senior Bowl performance, Lambert and his coaching staff used that as a springboard for recruiting purposes.
“That’s what we talk to recruits about – you can come to Charlotte and attain all of the goals you have set for yourself individually and as a team. Larry is proving that,” Lambert said.
The 49ers expanded their footprint during their recruiting, signing six players out of Florida. They also kept close ties with 11 players coming from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. Charlotte also added experience to their roster with the addition of seven junior college transfers.
The first fax of the day into the Charlotte offices was from D’Mitri Emmanuel. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman from Waxhaw, North Carolina was picked to participate in the 2016 Shrine Bowl. As a senior Emmanuel recorded a 93 percent blocking grade including 41 pancake blocks.
In addition to Emmanuel, the 49ers added five more offensive linemen to the roster with this class.
“The one thing we had to do with this class was take care of our offensive line and I think we did that. We signed six offensive linemen and three are junior college guys. We lost a lot of guys off of our offensive line, so we wanted to add some age back to it,” Lambert said.
Joining him on the o-line is Jean Eason, a six-foot-three, 285-pound Oakland, California native. At the City College of San Fransisco, Eason centered an offensive line that finished with 484.5 yards of total offense.
Coming in at 6-foot-4 and 296 pounds is junior college transfer Jalen Allen. Allen was named to the first team all-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference team as the offensive guard.
Also joining the offensive line are two-star recruits Mark Shekletski out of Ijamsville, Maryland and Jacob Webb from Canton, Georgia.
Rounding out the offensive linemen is David Foust. The 6-foot-6 lineman hails from Washington D.C. and spent two seasons at Los Angeles Valley College. This past season he helped lead the Monarchs to an 11-0 season and the Southern California Football Association’s American Division Pacific Championship Bowl.
The tight end position added three new options in Chris Phillips, Antoine Shaw and Ryan Eachus.
Phillips also comes from Los Angeles Valley College. The 6-foot-3, Woodbridge, Virginia native took a two-year break from the game after tearing his ACL in his last game at Hylton High School in 2012. As a sophomore he had 25 catches for 358 yards and five touchdowns.
Shaw comes to Charlotte from Rockingham, North Carolina. The first-team all-Southeastern Conference offensive lineman comes in a 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds.
Transferring to the Queen City is Eachus from Mission Viejo, California. Eachus had an impressive season at Orange Coast College, tallying 28 catches for 285 yards.
Adding depth to the wide receivers are Cameron Dollar, Cameron Bent and Victor Tucker.
Dollar, who is from Denver, North Carolina, set a national and state record when he caught seven touchdown passes in the first half of a game his senior season. The seven touchdown’s rank second nationally, first in the state. After recording over 2,900 career yards, Dollar was picked for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolina’s.
Also seen in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolina’s was Bent after he helped his high school team reach the AAA state quarterfinals.
Tucker lead his high school team to the 6A Florida High School State Championship title after catching 41 passes for 569 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season.
The sole running back in this recruiting class is three-star recruit Kameron Duncan out of Ocala, Florida. In his junior and senior season at West Port High School, Duncan rushed for over 2,500 yards. He averaged 148 yards a game as a senior and totaled 12 games with 100 or more yards over the last two years.
Also on the offensive side of the ball is pro-style quarterback Mic Roof. Roof, from Duluth, Georgia, is a two-star recruit and the son of former Duke head coach Ted Roof.
Five linebackers will now be calling the Queen City home.
“I wanted to solidify the inside of our defense with our linebacker position. Losing Nick Cook is a tough loss for us. We took a junior college linebacker and added some pieces there to make sure we’re stronger there,” Lambert said.
Two-star recruits Jonathan Francois and De’Anthony O’Neill both come to Charlotte from the Sunshine State. O’Neill is a dual player and can play both linebacker and defensive end.
Staying close to his roots is Sherard Sutton, who calls Kannapolis, North Carolina home. The three-year varsity player was exposed to both linebacker and receiver positions at A.L. Brown. He was named honorable mention all-defense in the Independent Tribune’s 2016 Midseason Awards.
A front runner to fill the void of Nick Cook at inside linebacker is Sean Bernard. Bernard comes to Charlotte from the same school as Cook – Butler Community College. At Butler, Bernard held a team-high 119 tackles, averaging 10.8 tackles a game. He was also responsible for 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and two blocked kicks.
Two-star recruit Henry Segura rounds out the linebackers in the 2017 signing class. Segura, out of Tallahassee, Florida, totaled 105 tackles including 20 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and two interceptions as a junior.
Picking Charlotte over 20 collegiate offers is defensive tackle Michael Adams out of Summerville, Georgia. The FCA Athlete of the Year averaged 3.3 tackles a game as a senior.
Chrishawn Wilson, a three-star recruit out of Florence, South Carolina, comes to Niner Nation as a defensive linemen. His senior season Wilson recorded 33 tackles including 12 sacks.
Rounding out the 2017 signees is Marquavis Gibbs. The 6-foot-1, 200 pound defensive back transferred to Charlotte from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. There he tallied 83 tackles with 33 solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
As for redshirting players, that is a decision the coaching staff will wait and make in August.
“Really you don’t know that until you get into August. A guy like Ben DeLuca last year, we weren’t sure he would play. But then we get into practice and we think ‘okay, we need to play this guy, he’s making too many plays,’” Lambert said. “That’s really the indicator, when guys in practice do things and you just walk off the practice field thinking ‘did you see what Ben did?’ or ‘did you see what Trent did?’”
The football team can be seen in action for the first time in 2017 April 22 in the annual Spring Game.