Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Charlotte 49ers land former Cuthbertson star

Just confirmed that wide receiver-returner Emmitt Afam, who scored 23 touchdowns last season at Waxhaw’s Cuthbertson High, will play for the 49ers this season (originally reported by @gtgblog). Afam, who originally verbally committed to Charlotte, signed with Colorado last spring, but changed his mind. Afam, 5-11, 170 pounds, had 50 receptions for 920 yards and 12 TDs last season. He also ran for seven touchdowns and had four more as a returner.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

49ers get commitment from Georgia RB

-- The Charlotte 49ers got a commitment Tuesday from running back Maetron Thomas of Stockbridge, Ga. A speedy dual threat, Thomas, 5-10, 180 pounds, has 4.49 speed in the 40 and rushed for 450 yards and scored 12 touchdowns as a junior last season. He also caught 18 passes for 305 yards and four TDs.

-- Former Charlotte center Jennifer Hailey has signed a contract with the pro team C.U.S. Cagliari of Italy's A League. Hailey was a four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and finished as Charlotte's career leader in blocked shots.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Notes: 49ers sign junior college tight end Dmarjai Devine

Some news and notes as Charlotte prepares to open football practice Thursday:

-- The 49ers have signed tight end Dmarjai Devine, a transfer from Tyler (Texas) Junior College. Devine (6-3, 210), who is from Longview, Texas, caught six passes for 91 yards last season for the Apaches.

-- And some roster attrition: Wide receiver Jamel Ross is out for the season with a knee injury. Running back Chris Duffy won't be with the 49ers this season, heading to junior college instead. Also, defensive back Nolan Corpening and defensive end Jamar Winston will not be enrolled in school this fall. Linebacker Rick LeGrant is academically ineligible.

-- Charlotte picked up two verbal commitments this week in Independence receiver Workpeh Kofa and Cartersville (Ga.) quarterback Brooks Barden, bringing their Class of '14 total to nine:

Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux, 6-8, 290, OL, Charlotte Christian.

Emmanuel Moseley, 6-0, 165, DB, Greensboro Dudley. Also had offers from East Carolina, N.C. A&T.

Najee Tucker, 6-2, 200, S, West Rowan, rated 2 stars by Also had an offer from Ball State.

Tristan Butcher, 6-2, 220, LB, Coweton, Okla., rated 2 stars by Also had offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette. Shows 49ers are stretching their recruiting scope with move to Conference USA.

Nathaniel Davis, 6-3, 290, OL, Ashburn (Va.) Stone Bridge. Also had offers from Toledo, Old Dominion.

R.J. Tyler, 6-4, 230, TE, Wagener-Salley (S.C.). Also had offers from Appalachian State, Wofford, Western Carolina.

Chris Brown, 6-4, 280, OL, Vance.

Workpeh Kofa, 6-1, 185, WR, Independence: Also had offers from Appalachian State, Toledo, Louisville.

Brooks Barden, 6-3, 200, QB,  Cartersville, Ga.: Also had offers from Arkansas State, UMass.

The 49ers also have a commitment from defensive back Jawuan Johnson of New Boston, Texas. Hearing that Charlotte hasn't accepted the commitment yet, however, so we'll keep an eye on that.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Charlotte 49ers add football series with JMU

The Charlotte 49ers made it official Thursday, announcing they had replaced Old Dominion on their football schedule with a two-game series against James Madison.

The 49ers will play the Dukes -- the 2004 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision national champions -- on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va., and Oct. 25, 2014, in Richardson Stadium.

The 49ers picked up JMU after their series with Old Dominion fell by the wayside the past few weeks. The Monarchs first canceled a scheduled game at Charlotte in 2014, with the 49ers returning the favor by pulling out of this season's game in Norfolk. ODU has since replaced those games with one against Campbell this season and one at Vanderbilt in 2014.

The 49ers originally wanted to cancel the series last fall, after ODU announced it was moving from the FCS to Conference USA in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014. Charlotte, which had already said it was making the move to C-USA in 2015, didn't feel it was ready to play ODU yet. But the Monarchs didn't want to cancel the series at that time. That apparently changed when a "guarantee" game against the SEC's Vanderbilt became available.

Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose gave her version of the events with ODU in a statement:

"ODU was made aware that we planned to cancel the 2013 game within days of receiving their letter cancelling our 2014 home game," Rose said. "While it is true that there were discussions in the fall of 2012 about cancelling this series, ODU was opposed, so we chose to honor the original agreement. When ODU sought to take advantage of an opportunity with Vanderbilt, however, and cancel their trip to Charlotte, we saw it in our best interest to cancel what had become, in effect, a one-and-done road game."

C-USA commissioner Brittain Banowsky was brought in to try and help Charlotte and ODU solve the scheduling problem, but was unable to do so.

"I was asked to try and make sure that they had good communications," Banowsky told the Virginian-Pilot at the league football media day Wednesday in Irving, Texas. "It's really a relationship, a contractual relationship, between the two schools. It's a business call. It happens all the time, in terms of people changing schedules. It's very rare that it happens this close to the start of the season."

ODU -- which had already taken Charlotte off the 2013 schedule it released at Wednesday's media day -- announced its scheduling changes with Campbell and Vanderbilt later that day. According to the Virginian-Pilot, Campbell had to move a game with Pioneer League opponent Davidson in order to play ODU. ODU reportedly paid Davidson $50,000 to make the switch.

"We chose not to make a statement until after Conference USA media day, out of respect for the commissioner and the league," said Rose.

-- Charlotte coach Brad Lambert and JMU's Mickey Matthews are close friends and were assistants together in the 1990s at Marshall and Georgia. 49ers strength coach Jim Durning came to Charlotte from James Madison.

-- The 49ers picked up a verbal commitment Thursday from Independence wide receiver Workpeh Kofa. He also had offers from Appalachian State, Toledo and Louisville.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Charlotte 49ers pull out of '13 ODU game

Another Charlotte-Old Dominion football game has been canceled.

This season's Old Dominion football schedule made available Wednesday at Conference USA's football media day in Irving, Texas, lists Nov. 16 -- the original date for a game between the 49ers and Monarchs in Norfolk, Va. -- as TBA.

Charlotte will fill its Sept. 21 open date with James Madison and leave Nov. 16 open.

The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that the 49ers canceled the game between the two future Conference USA football members, apparently unhappy after the Monarchs did the same earlier this month to a 2014 game scheduled for Charlotte's Richardson Stadium.

A 49ers source confirmed the cancellation. But a university spokesman said no immediate announcement was planned.

The Virginian-Pilot is also reporting that C-USA commissioner Brittain Banowsky tried to mediate the situation between Charlotte and Old Dominion, but a resolution couldn't be reached.

ODU, which started its football program in 2009, is moving up from the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivison in 2014 for Conference USA, which plays in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Charlotte begins football this season as an FCS independent and will join C-USA in football in 2015.

49ers athletics officials visited ODU in 2011 to see how the Monarchs' football operations were run. Charlotte has considered ODU and Texas-San Antonio (another recent start up that has also jumped to C-USA) as models.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WCCB to televise Charlotte 49ers home football games

-- The Charlotte 49ers and WCCB have agreed to a three-year deal to televise 49ers home football games, beginning with the 49ers' first game Aug. 31 against Campbell at Richardson Stadium.

The deal was brokered by the 49ers' media rights holder, IMG College.

“We have been working for several months now with WCCB to make these games available to those fans who aren’t able to get out to campus,” Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose said in a statement. “We are thrilled to grow a partnership with (executive VP) Jim Babb and WCCB. Their enthusiasm for our program was apparent from our very first meeting, and we are excited to have them on our team. To be able to televise each of our home games in our very first season speaks to the excitement surrounding our program, and we thank both WCCB-TV and IMG College for their work in making this happen.”

The television partners of Conference USA, which the 49ers will join as a football member in 2015, have first rights to Charlotte's home games, even in 2013 and '14. Should the CUSA partners select any Charlotte games in 2014, WCCB would have first rights to any remaining games.

-- Former 49ers basketball player E. Victor Nickerson, who left the program after last season, is transferring to Valparaiso. Nickerson will have two years of eligibility left, but will sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

49ers vs. Appalachian? It'll happen -- sometime

The news Monday that Old Dominion has pulled out of its football game at Charlotte in 2014 seems to have reignited discussion about the chances of the 49ers and Appalachian State establishing a series, possibly beginning in 2014 in the scheduling spot left open by the Monarchs' departure.

It's a rivalry that makes too much sense not to happen. And it will. It's just a matter of when, not if.

Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose told me recently that the two schools continue to discuss scheduling a football series. Mountaineers spokesman Mike Flynn told me Monday that Appalachian athletics director Charlie Cobb and football coach Scott Satterfield would love to play Charlotte and that 2014 wouldn't be too soon.

"Down the road, we will play them," said Rose. "We’re in discussions with them. They’d like it to be a longer-team arrangement, and we’re not willing to do that, because we just don’t know what our conference schedules are going to be like. We’ve got to be careful in how far out we schedule."

Here are a few factors, as they relate to a potential 2014 game and any others in the future:

-- Appalachian, which moves up to the FBS Sun Belt Conference in 2014, has just two of four nonconference games scheduled for that season now -- at Michigan and at home against FCS Campbell. The Mountaineers need another nonconference home game that season against an FBS team and the 49ers wouldn't fill that need anyway since they will still be an FCS program then. So the Mountaineers theoretically could come to Charlotte.

Could it be in Boone? Charlotte obviously would hesitate to give up a home game: losing the ODU game leaves the 49ers with five at Richardson Stadium (Johnson C. Smith, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Wesley College, Morehead State).

-- One potential problem, though, is the Oct. 25 date, which presumably will be right in the middle of the Sun Belt's conference schedule. That probably could be worked around, though, right?

-- Another factor working against a 2014 game might be whether Charlotte feels it's yet ready to compete with Appalachian on the field that quickly after starting its program in 2013. But with games already scheduled that season against established BCS programs from the Big South (Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and Coastal Carolina) and the Southern Conference (The Citadel, Western Carolina and Elon) -- not to mention Old Dominion before it backed out -- the 49ers have already made a statement that they are.

-- What about other years? Charlotte's nonconference schedules are almost completely set through 2016. Charlotte has just one available schedule slot now in 2014 and one non-Conference USA opening in 2015. The 49ers' nonconference schedule is full in 2016. All those schedules, though, are subject to change.

Aside from the 2014 games against Michigan and Campbell, the Mountaineers have no nonconference games set past 2013.

UPDATE: Charlotte 49ers to face K-State in Puerto Rico

In a late schedule change, Charlotte's first-round game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off will be against Kansas State -- NOT Georgetown -- on Nov. 21.

The 49ers were notified of the change around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, a few hours after the original pairings were released.

The 49ers-Wildcats game will be at 10:30 a.m. on ESPNU. Charlotte (21-12 last season) will go against a Wildcats team that went 27-8.

It's an extremely tough field: Other first-round games include Georgetown against Northeastern, Long Beach State against Michigan and Florida State against Virginia Commonwealth.

Charlotte and K-State are in the same bracket as Northeastern and Georgetown, with the winners and losers playing each other Nov. 22. Four games will also be played Nov. 24, beginning with the seventh-place game at 11:30 a.m. and the championship game scheduled for 6:30 on ESPN2.

Charlotte's full schedule won't be released until August, but it's expected to include home nonconference games against Georgia Tech (according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and  Davidson and road games against Appalachian State and possibly UNC Asheville.

The Conference USA schedule will be released soon, possibly later this week.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Charlotte 49ers in pro-am league

Several current and former Charlotte 49ers are playing this summer in the Anthony Morrow Summer Hoops pro-am league at the Grady Cole Center:

They include:

Pierria Henry and Terrence Williams (current) and former players Javarris Barnett, Derrio Green, E.J. Drayton, Phil Jones, Dijuan Harris and DeAngelo Alexander.

Games are Monday through Thursday through the second week of August.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Charlotte 49ers football recruiting update

Charlotte's football team got a commitment from Charlotte Christian offensive lineman Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux on Monday, bringing their Class of  '14 total to six. Here's a look at Cerza-Lanaux and the other five verbal commitments:

Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux, 6-8, 290, OL, Charlotte Christian, rated 2 stars by Also had offers from Georgia State and Coastal Carolina.

Emmanuel Moseley, 6-0, 165, DB, Greensboro Dudley. Also had offers from East Carolina, N.C. A&T.

Najee Tucker, 6-2, 200, S, West Rowan, rated 2 stars by Also had an offer from Ball State.

Tristan Butcher, 6-2, 220, LB, Coweton, Okla., rated 2 stars by Also had offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette. Shows 49ers are stretching their recruiting scope with move to Conference USA.

Nathaniel Davis, 6-3, 290, OL, Ashburn (Va.) Stone Bridge. Also had offers from Toledo, Old Dominion.

R.J. Tyler, 6-4, 230, TE, Wagener-Salley (S.C.). Also had offers from Appalachian State, Wofford, Western Carolina.