Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A look at Charlotte 49ers' newly signed football players

Here's a capsule look with video of the Charlotte 49ers' 17 new players -- 16 signed Wednesday on national signing day. One, offensive lineman Cameron Clark, had already signed and has enrolled in school:

Alex Barrow
WR, 5-11, 170
Ratings: 2-stars (247 Sports)
Had 46 catches for 822 yards and 11 receiving TDs as a senior with 275 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs (1,097 total yards, 16 TDs) … Moved to Charlotte from Clemmons, where he was all-conference at West Forsyth.

Cameron Clark
OL, 6-5, 260
Greensboro Smith
Ratings: 3 stars (ESPN), 2 stars (, 247 Sports)
Already in school at Charlotte … Played in 2014 Shrine Bowl … Had 88 “pancakes” as senior and 44 as junior.

A.D. Cunningham
LB, 6-1, ; 220.
South Charleston, W. Va.
Ratings: 2 stars (Rivals)
Also as a running back in high school, running for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.

Darren Drake
OL, 6-3, 300
McDonough (Ga.) Luella
Ratings: 3 stars (ESPN), 2 stars (Rivals, 247 sports)
Was Luella’s strongest player with combined lift total of 1,185 pounds … All-region player as a senior.

Desmond Floyd
DL, 6-5, 250
Union County (S.C.)/Wake Forest
Will have one year of eligibility as fifth-year grad student … Played three seasons at Wake Forest after redshirting his freshman year … Had 10 games with 12 tackles in 2014 ... 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks with four quarterback hurries.

Jeff Gemmell
LB, 6-3, 216
Wake Forest Heritage
Ratings: 2 stars (
Also played running back in high school and was two-way starter … Set single-season records for tackles (122) and sacks (15) last season.

Jonathan Hardy
DL, 6-4, 257
Wilmington New Hanover
Ratings: 2 stars (
Honorable mention all-Mideastern Conference … 2014 Blue-Grey all-American combine top performer.

Tyriq Harris
LB, 6-3, 215
Roanoke (Va.) Hidden Valley
Ratings: 2 stars (24/7 Sports)
Second-team all-state selection (all-purpose defense) as a senior with 87 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sack … 70 tackles, 11.0 sacks and one interception as a junior.

Michael Holmes
H-back,  6-4, 230
Victory Christian
Ratings: 3 stars (24/7 Sports)
N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III first-team all-state selection ... 856 receiving yards and six TD’s as a junior.

Darius Irvin
DB, 6-0, 184
Winter Garden (Fla.) Foundation Academy
Ratings: 2 stars (, 24/7 Sports)
70 tackles and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a TD as a senior ... Also has been a linebacker, running back, kick returner... twin brother of 2014 signee and current 49ers defensive back Denzel Irvin.

Ben Jacques
H-back, 6-6; 225
Mount Pleasant (S.C.) Wando
Ratings: 2 stars (, 24/7 Sports)
Averaged 9.0 yards per catch and had two touchdowns as senior … Lettered in football and track.

Nafees Lyon
DB, 5-10, 180
Mallard Creek
Ratings: 3 stars (24/7 Sports,,
Member of Mallard Creek’s two-time 4AA N.C. champions … Had three interceptions (one for a touchdown) and punt return for touchdown as a senior ... Six interceptions, two fumble recoveries for touchdowns and punt return as junior.

A.J. McDonald
DB, 6-0, 190
Bamberg Ehrhardt (S.C.)
Ratings: 2 stars (, 24/7 Sports)
Helped Red Raiders to the 2014 state championship game … first team all-area selection as senior, honorable mention as junior.

Nate Mullen
WR/KR/PR, 5-9, 170
Harrisburg Hickory Ridge
Ratings: 2 stars (,, 24/7 Sports)
2014 Shrine Bowl selection ... third-team all-Charlotte Observer area as a return specialist ... More than 1,500 total yards with 819 rushing  and 727 receiving …  25 touchdowns included 16 on the ground and nine through the air ... 2013 Golden Gloves Novice Division runner-up ... the son of 49ers offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen.

Akease Rankin
RB, 6-0, 210
Ratings: 2 stars (, 24/7 Sports)
Played in Shrine Bowl … Had 1,543 rushing yards as a senior with 23 touchdowns and eight 100-yard games ... averaged 140.3 yards per game and 10.0 yards per carry ... Had more than 2,100 yards and scored 21 yards as a junior.

Trevor Stacy
OL, 6-5, 300
Huntington (W.Va.) Spring Valley
Ratings: 2 stars (24/7 Sports)
Wednesday’s first signee, with  paperwork coming across at across at 7:03 a.m. ...  Three-time first-team AAA all-state selection ... 2014 Hart Award winner as the West Virginia Sports Writers Association Top lineman … Herald-Dispatch Tri-State Player of the Year and to the all-Tri-State team ... Four-year starter holds record for most starts in school history.

Randy Suydam
DL, 6-3,  245
Mallard Creek
Ratings: 2 stars (24/7 Sports)
Played for Mallard Creek’s two-time N.C. 4AA state champions ... First-team all-Observer selection who was two-year starter... Had 30 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, five sacks and two fumble recoveries as a defensive lineman.



Monday, February 2, 2015

Observations on Charlotte 49ers' 2015 football schedule

Observations on the Charlotte 49ers 2015 football schedule, which was released Monday afternoon. The 49ers' first Conference USA game will be at Middle Tennessee on Sept. 19:

-- First, the schedule (with last season's record):

Sept. 3, at Georgia State (1-11, 0-8 Sun Belt)

Sept. 12, Presbyterian (6-5, 2-3 Big South)

Sept. 19, at Middle Tennessee (6-6 5-3 C-USA

Sept. 26, Florida Atlantic (3-9, 2-6 C-USA)

Oct. 3, Temple (6-6, 4-4 AAC)

Oct. 10, BYE

Oct. 17, at Old Dominion (6-6, 4-4 C-USA)

Oct. 24, Southern Mississippi (3-9, 1-7 C-USA)

Oct. 31, Marshall (13-1, 7-1, C-USA)

Nov. 7, at Florida International (4-8, 3-5 C-USA)

Nov. 14, Texas-San Antonio (4-8, 3-5 C-USA)

Nov. 21, at Kentucky (5-7, 2-6 SEC)

Nov. 28, at Rice (8-5, 5-3 C-USA)

-- The 49ers will play in Conference USA's seven-team East Division, taking the spot vacated by Alabama-Birmingham, which discontinued football in December. There was speculation that the league would assign the 49ers what UAB's league schedule would have been based on last season -- a slate that would have included games at Marshall and Louisiana Tech, last season's two divisional champs. I'm told the 49ers lobbied hard for not that not to happen.

-- As it is, Charlotte's schedule includes the league's past three champions -- Marshall (2014) at home on Oct. 31, at Rice (2013) on Nov. 28 and Southern Miss (2011) at home on Oct. 24. The 49ers don't play Louisiana Tech.

-- The Sept. 3 date for the season opener at Georgia State in the Georgia Dome remains tentative until the NFL schedule is announced. The Panthers will be Charlotte's first against an FBS team and should be a good measuring stick. Georgia State also started football recently (in 2010), and was 1-11 in 2014 in its first season in FBS' Sun Belt Conference.

-- Aside from Georgia State, two other opponents also started football recently -- UTSA (2011) and ODU (2009). UTSA is the only school in NCAA history to make the move from FCS startup to FBS faster than Charlotte's two seasons. The Roadrunners did it after one year. 

-- Remember, the 49ers are eligible for the C-USA championship next season, but can't play in a bowl until the 2016 season.

-- No game times are set. Installation has begun on lights at Richardson Stadium. They're scheduled to be ready for the 49ers spring game on April 18.

-- Here's how the conference schedule works (courtesy Charlotte sports information):

"Each school in the (six-team) West Division will play every team in its division once for five games, while playing three cross-over opponents from the opposite division.  Three schools in the East Division will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two cross-over opponents from the opposite division. 

"Four schools in the East Division will play five opponents in its division once for five games, while playing three cross-over opponents from the opposite division.  East Division schools playing five division games were randomly selected by a computer scheduling application and two intra-division matchups in the East will not take place this season (Charlotte-WKU and Middle Tennessee-Old Dominion)."

-- There should official word soon on two nonconference games against Power 5 conference teams -- at Tennessee in 2018 and Clemson in 2019.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Former 49ers soccer star Gentile signs with Swiss team

Former Charlotte 49ers soccer player Giuseppe Gentile has signed with FC Chiasso, a team in Switzerland’s second division.

It’s a homecoming for Gentile, a striker and key member of the 49ers team that played in the 2011 College Cup championship game. Gentile was born in Miami but spent much of his childhood living in the small town of Cazis, Switzerland, which is about 90 miles from Chiasso.

Gentile left Charlotte after his junior season of 2013. He was drafted by Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire and played in 2014 for the United Soccer Leagues Pro’s Charlotte Eagles and Orlando City, before finishing the season with the North American Soccer League’s San Antonio Scorpions.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Charlotte 49ers' Woods C-USA's freshman of week

Charlotte 49ers guard Keyshawn Woods has been named Conference USA's freshman of the week.

Woods, who played at Northside Christian, averaged 13.7 points as the 49ers went 2-1 last week. He is the second Charlotte player to win the league's top freshman award (Torin Dorn won a few weeks ago).

The 49ers (6-5) are off until Dec. 30, when they play at Georgia Tech.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Charlotte 49ers' Parker named 2nd team All-American

Charlotte 49ers junior forward Kyle Parker was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American team. Parker, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist who played at Marvin Ridge High, scored nine goals and seven assists this season and was name Conference USA's offensive most valuable player.

Parker, forward Brandt Bronico and defender Biko Bradnock-Brennan made the NSCAA's all-Southeast region first team, while 49ers goalkeeper Austin Pack and midfielder Dominic Bonilla are on the second team.

Charlotte's Kyle Gookins was named the southeast region's assistant coach of the year.

Statement from chancellor Phil Dubois on 49ers baseball hazing investigation

Statement Friday from UNCC chancellor Phil Dubois:

The Universitys investigation into allegations of misconduct involving members of the Charlotte 49ers baseball team has resulted in two more interim suspensions of students, in addition to the three issued on November 14.
Head Baseball Coach Loren Hibbs has dismissed five players from the team for violating team rules, effective immediately. 
Based on what we know today, I have authorized Athletics Director Judy Rose to reinstate baseball activities for the rest of the team, effective immediately.  If any evidence of additional misconduct, as defined by the University Code of Student Responsibility, becomes known, additional measures will be taken.
The University stands firm in its resolve that there is no place for hazing, bullying or misconduct at UNC Charlotte.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by our Student Affairs Division, under the direction of the Office of Legal Affairs.
To ensure student privacy, the University may not legally release further details.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Charlotte 49ers looking to UAB for transfers

Here's a Charlotte 49ers football recruiting update:

-- 49ers coaches -- along with probably every other staff in the country -- have been in Birmingham since the news that Alabama-Birmingham's program was folding. And Charlotte's made some headway: Linebacker Rolan Milligan, the Blazers' second-leading tackler last season with 54, is visiting Charlotte next week. Milligan, who also had four tackles for loss and two sacks, is a 5-11, 185-pound senior from Lake City, Fla. According to, Milligan is also visiting Toledo.

The 49ers are also expecting at least two other former Blazers to visit.

-- Charlotte, which is in need of running backs, got a commitment from one Tuesday: Fairfield (S.C.) Central's Joseph Young. The 49ers came in late on Young, a two-star prospect by, who had offers from schools such as Virginia, Appalachian State and Old Dominion.

Young, 6-1, 197 pounds, ran for 1,367 yards this season. He's the 16th commitment for Charlotte.

The 49ers needed to bring in at least one running back after freshman Maetron Thomas was thrown off the team last month.

-- Charlotte is also getting a visit next week from defensive lineman Zach Befort of Butler (Kan.) Junior College, the same school the 49ers found linebacker Nick Cook and safety Branden Dozier.

-- The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger is reporting that linebacker Terry Caldwell, who was thrown off Charlotte's team last summer, has signed with Mississippi.

-- Running back Chris Duffy (Porter Ridge High), who originally signed with Charlotte, played last season at Georgia Military College. A 49ers source said Charlotte is no longer interested in Duffy.