Charlotte 49ers add 17 football players on signing day including 4 from N.C. and 3 from S.C.

By Richard Walker

After a COVID-19-ravaged 2020 season limited his team to six games and forced nine game postponements or cancellations, Charlotte 49ers head football coach Will Healy was delighted to add 17 new players on Wednesday’s early NCAA signing day.

“I’m really excited about this class,” Healy said of a group currently ranked 99th in NCAA Division I football and sixth in Conference USA by recruiting website 247sports.com. “When it’s all said and done, I think it’ll be one of the top classes in Conference USA.”

Healy said that despite the inability to do in-person recruiting, in-home recruiting visits or host recruits on campus, he was determined to get players who fit the 49ers’ “culture.”

“It’s been awful,” Healy said of the recruiting restrictions created by the pandemic. “When you have to do it like this, it’s not real fun. We’ve built our program on relationships and finding ways to create that has been hard.

“It was the class we wanted and we’re happy to have all of them,”

Healy has said since he was hired by Charlotte in December 2018 that recruiting the Charlotte-area would be his top priority.

In a year in which many local players signed with ACC and SEC schools, Healy’s 49ers signed Charlotte Independence defensive end Tyson Clawson, Statesville running back Chavion Smith and Fayetteville Pine Forest defensive lineman Isaiah Potts from North Carolina and Dutch Fork wide receiver Elijah Spencer and Blythewood offensive lineman Trevor Timmons from South Carolina.

“You start there (Charlotte-area) and you recruit out,” Healy said. “We recruited a lot of local guys and a lot of those guys were ACC/SEC guys and those are tough battles.”

Healy expects about half of the 17 signees to report to Charlotte in January in order to go through upcoming spring football drills.

Charlotte also awaits the decisions of its 23 2020 seniors who all can take advantage of the opportunity to play again next season.

In a season in which Charlotte went 2-4 overall and 2-2 in Conference USA, 17 of those 23 players were on the team’s two-deep depth chart, among them co-starting running backs James Harbison and Aaron McAllister, standout linebacker Tyriq Harris and school’s all-time leading tackler Ben DeLuca.

“I’m going to let them take some time and get back to me when they’re ready in January,” Healy said.

Healy said he couldn’t comment on a a 247sports.com report that former four-star quarterback James Foster of Montgomery, Ala., was transferring from Texas A&M to Charlotte.

Foster opted out before this season started and would be a third-year sophomore for the 49ers. He played in four games for Texas A&M in 2019, completing two of five passes for 25 yards and rushing twice for 17 yards.

Healy said he planned to add “three of four” more players to this signing class on the more traditional February signing day.

A full list of Charlotte’s 2020 December signees with name, position, height, weight, hometown and previous school:

Knox Boyd OL 6-4, 290 Denton, Tex. Guyer
D.J. Brown LB 6-0, 235 Memphis, Tenn. Memphis University School
Cam Burden LB 6-3, 205 Sevierville, Tenn. Alcoa
Tyson Clawson DE 6-0, 209 Charlotte Independence
Miguel Jackson DE 6-1, 240 Gibsonia, Pa. Pine-Richland
Jarius Mack WR 5-10, 170 Athens, Ga. Clarke Central
Douglas Newsome CB 6-0, 175 Orange, Va. Orange County
Steven Parker S 6-2, 170 Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Tech
Miles Posey DE 6-3, 220 Yorktown, Va. Life Christian Academy
Isaiah Potts DL 6-2, 300 Fayetteville Pine Forest
B.J. Ragland OL 6-3, 285 Chattanooga, Tenn. Red Bank
Bailey Rice P 6-0, 200 Melbourne, Australia St. Kilda
Chavion Smith RB 5-9, 195 Statesville Statesville
Elijah Spencer WR 6-2, 190 Irmo, S.C. Dutch Fork
Trevor Timmons OL 6-2, 275 Blythewood, S.C. Blythewood
Colin Weber TE 6-4, 220 Hopkins, Mich. Hopkins
Xavier Williams QB 6-2, 205 Moultrie, Ga. Colquitt County