CHARLOTTE 49ERS (1-1; AAC: 0-0)
vs. Georgia State (2-0)
10th Anniversary of 49ers Football
Saturday, Sept. 16; 6:00 pm
Jerry Richardson Stadium
Play by play: Alex Perlman
Analyst: Reginald Walker Jr.
Sideline: Smacker Miles
Radio: Learfield/Charlotte Sport Network
Play by play: Matt Swierad
Analyst: Al Wallace
Sideline: Bobby Rosinski
Series Record: 2-2
Sept. 4, 2015 W, 23-20 Atlanta, Ga.
Sept. 23, 2017 L, 0-28 Charlotte, N.C.
Sept. 18, 2021 L, 9-20 Atlanta, Ga.
Sept. 17, 2022 W, 42-41 Atlanta, Ga.
Charlotte is 2-2 vs. Georgia State following last year’s 42-41 victory in which Chris Reynolds threw for a record five TDs … Charlotte is 0-1 at home against the Panthers … the home game scheduled for 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic.
Charlotte Head Coach:
Biff Poggi (Duke)
at CLT:………………………… 1-1 (1st year)
Overall:……………………….. 1-1 (1st year)
All-Time (Season 11; FBS Season 9):
All-time game number: ……………………. 116
All-time record: ……………………………. 40-75
49ers at home: ……………………………. 25-32
49ers on road: ……………………………… 15-42
Neutral site: ………………………………….. 0- 1
RB Shadrick Byrd ranks fifth all-time with 1254 career rushing yards, 9 shy of #4 (Matt Johnson, 1273)
With 6 tackles at Maryland, LB Prince Bemah became the 26th 49er to reach 100 tackles in his career
HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
Charlotte is inducting its 2nd and 3rd classes into its Athletics Hall of Fame, Friday, Sept. 15. The Classes of 2022 and 2023 will be inducted in a ceremony Friday night on-campus and introduced at halftime of the Georgia State game.
Class of 2022 Class of 2023
Paula Bennett, women’s basketball Ike Belk, philanthropists
Byron Dinkins, men’s basketball DeMarco Johnson, men’s basketball
Gene & Vickie Johnson, philanthropists Bobby Lutz, men’s basketball head coach
Jeff Mullins, men’s basketball head coach Lindsey Ozimek, women’s soccer
Henry Williams Jr., men’s basketball Bo Robinson, baseball
FAST TRACK TO THE AMERICAN
In just 10 years, Charlotte started a program, jumped to the FBS level and advanced into one of the nation’s premier football conferences. The 49ers’ first season came in 2013, but an invite into an FBS Conference, Conference USA, came in May of 2012, prior to even the 49ers first practice. Charlotte spent the requisite two years as an FCS Independent before transitioning into CUSA. In 2015, the 49ers won their first-ever game at the FBS level, at Georgia State. Now, after eight years in CUSA, the 49ers have made the move to the American – a fitting way to celebrate this bold program’s 10th Anniversary.
NEW HEAD COACH BIFF POGGI
First-year head coach Biff Poggi comes to Charlotte after serving as an Associate Head Coach for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan for two CFP National Semifinal seasons. He made name for himself as an ultra-successful high school coach at Saint Frances Academy and Gilman School in Baltimore. His goal is to allow student-athletes to improve opportunities available to them through football, whether it is opportunities in football or using football to attend college, earn a degree and begin a career in their chosen field.
Poggi has instituted a financial literacy program that will include class/seminars and an internship program.
On the field, Poggi has revamped the coaching staff and roster in preparation for the 2023 season. The roster has approximately 70 new players, including over 40 from four-year institutions. His stated goal is to dominate the line of scrimmage in order to establish the run game on offense and eliminate it on defense.
Coaches with Most Swagger (BigGameBoomer): Biff Poggi (#2)
Bruce Feldman’s Freak’s List (The Athletic): Julius Welschof (#24)
Most Impactful Transfer Portal (The Athletic): Eyabi Okie-Anoma (#95)
Rising Star Assistant Coaches (ON3): Rod Ojong; Ryan Osborn
30 Under 30 (247Sports): Greg Froelich
All six touchdowns scored have been the first in the 49ers’ career of that player
Tr. QB Jalon Jones 1 yd run vs. SC State
Fr. RB Durell Robinson 6-yd run vs. SC State
Jr. TE Bryce Kennon 36-yd catch vs. SC State
RSo WR Jairus Mack 48-yd catch at Maryland
Tr. LB Demetrius Knight 16-yd INT ret. at Maryland
Tr. RB Joachim Bangda 1 yd run at Maryland
Fr. S Kameron Howard has recorded an interception in each of his first two games. His two picks are one shy of the freshman record (Terrance Winchester, 3, in 2013)
Fr. RB Durell Robinson (5.7/carry) and R-Fr. RB Terron Kellman (4.8/carry) have combined to average 83.0 yards per game and 5.4 yards/carry.
CLT TE’s have accounted for 8 catches for 84 yds (10.5/rec.) and one TD
R-So. WR Jack Hestera leads the 49ers with 7 catches for 85 yards (12.1/catch).
R-So. Jairus Mack tops the receiving corps with 109 rec. yards, thanks to the first 100-yard game of his career (106 at Maryland)
LB Demetrius Knight shares the team lead with 14 tackles (S Wayne Jones) — he’s had seven in each of the first two games. Knight notched his first career Pick-Six on a 16-yard INT return of a Taulia Tagovailoa pass at Maryland.
Three 49ers have registered 2.0 TFL, this season: Nikhai Hill-Green, Eyabi Okie-Anoma and Jonathan Wallace.
The three points allowed in the season-opener are the fewest allowed since yielding six to Old Dominion in 2017. Charlotte allowed 168 yards of total offense, holding its opponent to under 200 total yards for the first time since 2018 (144 yds by Middle Tennessee, Oct. 20, 2018). Charlotte’s defense allowed just three plays of over 10 yards and collected 7.0 TFL and 3.0 sacks with six QB hurries with one INT.
RUN GAME DIFFERENTIAL
Charlotte doubled up its opponent in the season-opener, running for 220 yds (4.7/carry) while allowing only 109 (2.9/carry). Four 49ers rushed for 40 or more yards and three different 49ers had rushing plays of 15 or more yards while the defense yielded just one.
BYRD ON HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST
RS Jr. RB/KR Shadrick Byrd has been named to the Watch List for the Paul Hornung Award for the second straight year. The Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football. Byrd, an All-Conference USA Honorable Mention kick returner, led the 49ers in rushing and kick returns in 2022. He boasted a team high 1494 all-purpose yards. He was named to the 2021 CUSA All-Freshman team as both a running back and a returner.
NEW LOOK ROSTER
Charlotte’s roster is made up of over 70 new players, including 48 four-year transfers. Among the new class, Charlotte boasts one former five-star recruit, 13 four-star recruits and 36 three-star recruits. 28 of the 49ers newcomers played at Saint Frances High school in Baltimore, where Poggi helped start the national power program.
RUN THE DANG BALL
Head coach Biff Poggi has made no secret of his desire to control the line of scrimmage and dominate the running game. To that end, he returns top rusher Shadrick Byrd and welcomes in four-star high school standout Durell Robinson, who made his signing decision public on ESPN2 during the Under Armour Next All-America game. Returning back Henry Rutledge and newcomers Terron Kellman and Joachim Bangda will also profit from a revamped offensive line that has taken on sizeable newcomers like Ja’Khi Green, Kevin Williams, Jasper Parks, Lucas Gramlick, Andrew Adair and Johnathan Bass to join returning starters Panda Askew and Jonny King.
THE AMERICAN WAY
In 2023, Charlotte is ushering in a new era for its football program. The 49ers have welcomed first-year head coach Biff Poggi to take over the reins and Charlotte will be making its way to the American Athletic Conference after eight seasons in Conference USA. Charlotte started football in 2013. The 49ers took the fast track to FBS football — joining Conference USA in 2015 after two requisite transition years an FCS Independent. The 49ers accepted the invitation into Conference USA in May of 2012, before holding its first practice. Now, after just eight years in CUSA, the 49ers have moved into one of the strongest FBS conferences in the country: The American
2023 Preseason Watch Lists
Hornung Award: Shadrick Byrd, RB/KR
Wuerffel Trophy: Mike Kelly, DE
Senior Bowl: Julius Welschof
Senior Bowl: Eyabi Okie-Anoma
KR Shadrick Byrd 2021 Honorable Mention all-C-USA; All-Freshman
2022 Honorable Mention all-C-USA
RB Shadrick Byrd 2021 All-Freshman Team
LB Reid Williford 2022 All-Freshman Team
DB Maguire Neal 2022 All-Freshman Team
BACK ON CAMPUS
Charlotte returns 10 starters (6 on defense; 4 on offense).
The defense brings back 2022 leading tacklers Prince Bemah (LB: 62 tackles; 5.0 TFL; 2.0 sacks; 1 FF) and Wayne Jones (S; 58 tackles; 3.5 TFL; 2 INT; 1 FF), defensive tackles Jalar Holley (38 tackles; 1.5 TFL) and Dez Morgan (30 tackles; 2.5 TFL), LB Derek Boykins (six starts before injury) and C-USA All-Freshman team selections DB Maguire Neal and LB Reid Williford.
On offense, two starting linemen return: LG Panda Askew and RG Jonny King as well as RB Shadrick Byrd and TE Jake Clemons.
STARS ARE OUT
DL Eyabi Okie-Anoma, a Michigan transfer, was a five-star talent coming out of high school. In addition, several other newcomers were four-star prospects, including freshman RB Durell Robinson and 12 four-star transfers: QBs Jalon Jones and Micah Bowens, D-Linemen Julius Welschof, Demon Clowney, Austin Fontaine and Katron Evans, LB Osita Ekwonu and Nikhai Hill-Green, DB’s Dontae Balfour, CJ Burton and Isaiah Hazel and WR Ike White. Charlotte also added 36 three-star transfers. That’s 49 transfers that earned three or more stars
2023 Will mark the 10th anniversary of the 49ers inaugural season, when Charlotte competed as an FCS Independent. The 49ers remained an FCS Independent in 2014, before making the leap to the FBS level in year three as a member of Conference USA.
In its 10 years, Charlotte has produced five NFL draft picks, sent six players to the NFL Combine and seen six players compete in NFL action.
NAME DRAFT NFL Action
Larry Ogunjobi, DL 3rd rd, 2017 92 games; 79 starts
(Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh)
Nate Davis, OL 3rd rd, 2019 55 games; 54 starts
Alex Highsmith, DE/LB 3rd rd, 2020 49 games; 38 starts (Pittsburgh)
Cam Clark, OL 4th rd, 2020 — retired / medical — (NY Jets)
Grant DuBose, WR 7th rd; 2023 Green Bay Packer draft pick
Brandon Banks, DL UDFA 1 game (Washington), 2017
Ben DeLuca, S UDFA 3 games (LA Chargers), 2021
Timmy Horne, DL UDFA 17 games; 5 starts (Atlanta), 2022
Markees Watts, DE UDFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (53-man)
Cam Lyons, LS UDFA New York Giants, 2023, waived
The new look roster will be replacing its five-year starting quarterback, Chris Reynolds, who threw for over 10,000 yards and 84 touchdowns. Charlotte also lost DE Markees Watts, who graduated as the 49ers all-time sack leader, and second team All-C-USA DE Amir Siddiq. Not to mention the loss of WR Grant DuBose, an NFL draft pick of the Green Bay Packers, and WR Victor Tucker, the 49ers second all-time leading receiver.
Top candidates to replace all-time leading passer Reynolds are transfers Jalon Jones (Bethune-Cookman) and Micah Bowens (Oklahoma). Jones joined the program in January to take advantage of spring ball with his new team. Bowens transferred in late spring and joined the program during the summer sessions.
Top options to replace defensive ends Watts and Siddiq will be former five-star recruit Eyabi Okie-Anoma, who played for Poggi at both Saint Frances Academy and Michigan, Demon Clowney, a transfer from Ole Miss, returner Stone Handy and Michigan transfer Julius Welschof.