The 49ers greet fans on the sideline after running through the tunnel. Photo by Chris Crews

Wednesday marked signing day for football programs across the nation. The 49ers welcomed almost 20 new members to the program. In their seventh recruiting class the Niners picked up 11 players on the offensive side of the ball and seven defensive players.

The nine players that will report in January marks the most mid-year players for the Charlotte program. The group includes 11 three or two-star recruits, four junior college players and two guys from a prep school.

Head coach Brad Lambert described signing day as a “fun day.”

“Our staff did a tremendous job – worked extremely hard on the road and did a fantastic job finding the right student-athletes to come to Charlotte. We’re excited about the length we’ve added to our team. Good students, good kids who are going to be good players for us so we’re excited about that. I reall like the early signing day and getting guys on board,” Lambert said.

Take a look at the new members of the Charlotte football program:

DJ Anderson is a defensive back out of Silver Spring Maryland that is transferring to the Queen City from Lackawanna College. At the junior college, he had three interceptions and three pass break-ups during his sophomore season and totaled 25 tackles over eight games.

Another DB, Matt Martinez, will come to Charlotte from Mooresville. During his senior year he averaged 7.3 tackles a game and had two interceptions and four pass breakups. His junior season included 6.0 tackles and one interception.

Jonnie Pitman will also be joining the defensive backs. Pitman comes from Oxon Hill, Maryland and attended Potomac High School. The two-star recruit tallied over 20 collegiate offers and was named all-conference two times. Throughout his high school career Pitman tallied 61 tackles, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and 21 passes deflected.

From Clarke County High School in Berryville, Virginia is defensive lineman Bryan Wallace. The four-year varsity member was named to the 2A first team all-state and was named the Winchester Star Athlete of the Year twice. In the 2017 season, Wallace was Clarke County’s leading tackler and was the all-time sack leader with 45.5 sacks.

Also joining the d-line is Emmanuel White who spent the 2017 season at Georgia Prep Sports Academy. In his nine games this past season he collected 39 tackles and 19 sacks. He also had 19 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Damon Weldon will join the 49ers next season as a defensive end, but Weldon has experience playing on the other side of the ball on the offensive line as well as tight end. At Fork Union Military Academy he totaled 22 tackles, 12 sacks and nine quarterback hurries.

Markees Watts serves as the lone linebacker recruit for the 49ers. The Lancaster, South Carolina-native was a two-star recruit and a two-time Region III Defensive Player of the Year. He collected 42 tackles for loss and 27 sacks over his junior and sophomore seasons. He suffered a season-ending injury on the opening kickoff of his 2017 season.

Brady Pope, a two-star quarterback, threw for 10,624 yards and had 112 passing touchdowns. His senior season, Pope threw for 4,052 passing yards with a .645 completion percentage and 43 touchdowns. After being named first team all-conference, the future 49er was also named the Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

From Savannah, Georgia comes Terrick Smalls, Jr. The three-star recruit runs a 4.57 in the 40-yard dash. He tallied 1,687 career rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. During his senior season with Benedictine Military High School he had 821 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. In the 2016 season Smalls’ 729 yards and 15 touchdowns helped lead his team to a 15-0 record and state title.

Joining the 49ers from Dodge City Community College is tight end Moss Saccomanno. Saccomanno is from Smiths Station, Alabama and started 11 games with the Conquistadors during the 2017 season. During the 2016 season Saccomanno started eight games at Alabama Prep of Birmingham.

Another tight end will join the Niners next season. Jacob Hunt comes to Charlotte from Rome, Georgia. The two-star recruit had 19 catches for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Hunt also played defense at The Darlington School and totaled 70 tackles, 15 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.

Joining the receiving corps is Justin Jeffery from Richmond Hill, Georgia. The three-star recruit accumulated over 10 collegiate offers including FAU and Cincinnati. In his senior season with Richmond Hill High School, Jeffery had 27 catches for 341 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 12.6 yards per catch.

Wide receiver Rico Arnold will join the 49ers next season. The two-star recruit from Athens, Georgia accumulated over 1,500 career receiving yards during his time at Clarke Central High School. During his senior season he had 47 catches for 766 yards and seven touchdowns. He was also named the GITV Offensive Player of the Year.

Chris Wiggins is a two-star wide receiver from Greensboro, North Carolina. The two-time Metro 4A all-Conference player also won Whirlie’s Bob Jamieson Team MVP in his senior season. During his junior year, Wiggins was named the Offensive Player of the Year at Grimsley high school.

Malik Harkness, and offensive lineman, comes to Charlotte from Lugoff, South Carolina. The two-star recruit was named Demons’ Offensive Lineman of the Year and was named all-Region 4A.

Another offensive lineman is Dominic Taylor from Snellville, Georgia. He played for Hutchinson Community College where he earned an honorable mention all-conference at center in the 2017 season. During his time at Shiloh high school, Taylor played on both the offensive and defensive line.

Jon Timmons is an offensive lineman from Memphis, Tennessee. After serving his redshirt season at Memphis in the 2016 season, he went to Coffeyville Community College in time for the 2017 season. He was named to the KJCCC Second Team all-conference tackle.

Rounding out the offensive line recruits is Dalton Widner from Corryton, Tennessee. The two-star recruit played both o-line and d-line during his time with Gibbs High School. He served as a team captain his senior season.

The December signing period goes through the 22nd, and there is another signing period that begins on Feb. 7.

Kathleen Cook is the sports editor of the Niner Times and from Wake Forest, North Carolina. When the junior communication major/journalism minor isn't covering the 49ers, she enjoys spending time with her family, friend, and dog. Kathleen can also be found cheering on the Panthers every Sunday and rooting for the Washington Nationals.