The Charlotte 49ers football program signed a very important recruiting class last week. This is one of the team's last few prospects before heading to the American Athletic Conference in 2023. The class ranked third overall among the other schools in Conference USA and features a lot of highly touted players from the Carolinas.
Running Back, Micah Bell: Bell is a three-star recruit from McDonough, Georgia. In 2021, Bell rushed for 434 yards and five TDs on only 48 carries. He averaged a staggering 9.7 yards per rush in his high school career, and will be joining a talented Charlotte running back room with Shadrick Byrd and ChaVon McEachern.
He is a player who can make an immediate impact, but that is still to be determined with the talent that the running back position group has returning. How Bell will fit the system and how snaps will be distributed amongst all the backs will be an important question next season.
Offensive Linemen, Boston Brinkley: Three-star recruit from Fort Mill, South Carolina. Brinkley was ranked as the 32nd best player in the state and earned the South Carolina 5A All-State honor. He will join a young and deep offensive linemen group.
Offensive Linemen, Antonio Gaines: Three-star recruit from Columbia, South Carolina. Gaines was ranked as the 30th best player in the state and primarily played defensive linemen in high school. He racked up 63 tackles, 8.0 sacks, and four forced fumbles in his career and played under now Charlotte 49ers wide receiver coach Perry Parks. However, Gaines will be transitioning to the offensive line for Charlotte.
Taking snaps on both sides of the line will prove to be in Gaines' favor and will make the transition to full-time offensive lineman easier because he will know the tendencies of opposing defensive lineman.
Wide Receiver, Reggie Givhan: Three-star recruit out of Kennesaw, Georgia. Givhan played on a top nationally ranked high school team in 2021, and put up 636 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. Known for his speed, Givhan ran a 4.4, 40-yard dash as a senior and will provide versatility as a returner and weapon on offense. He will be joining a very talented wide receiver group led by Grant Dubose and C-USA Freshmen of the year, Elijah Spencer.
Coach Healy said he feels like they have added some "speedsters" and guys who can run sweeps and take the top off opposing defenses. Givhan will bring the speed needed to get out on the perimeter and outrun defensive backs.
Offensive Linemen, Cade Goldman: Three-star recruit from Harrisburg, North Carolina. Goldman was ranked among the top 60 offensive linemen in the country while also earning the honor of Academic All-State. He will be another young offensive lineman with immense potential joining the 49ers program.
Goldman and the other Hickory Ridge lineman led the way for senior running back Randall Fisher this past season, who had just under 600 yards on the season while splitting snaps at the running back position. Goldman and the Bulls also had a decent run in the state playoffs before running into Chambers, the eventual 4A runner-up.
Defensive Back, Aveon Grose: Three-star recruit from Mansfield, Ohio. Grose ranked as a top 40 player in Ohio and was selected to the 2021 Max Preps Preseason All-State selection. The ball-hawking defensive back looks to join a group led by Solomon Rogers, Lance McMillian, and Shedrick Ursery, Trey Creamer and Tank Robinson.
With Jon Alexander declaring for the draft and being arguably the best all-around defensive back this past season, Grose will come in and fill a void left by Alexander.
Kicker Braeden McAlister: Five-star rated kicker out of Indian Trail, North Carolina. McAlister was named to the Queen City Senior Bowl and the Carolinas Bowl while achieving the Academic All-state student honor. He looks to compete with Jonathan Cruz this spring for the starting kicker position.
McAlister didn't miss an extra point all season long for Porter Ridge and will look to bring his powerful yet accurate leg with him to the 49ers program and push Cruz to be even better than he already has proven to be.
Tight End Jake Mctaggart: Three-star recruit from Hayesville, North Carolina. Mctaggart ranked as the 21st best player in the state and was also selected to the Carolinas Bowl. He's a fantastic basketball player on top of his football talent and looks to bring his gifted athleticism to a young tight end's group featuring Taylor Thompson and Bryce Kennon.
Linebacker Maguire Neal: Three-star recruit from Zephyrhills, Florida. Neal recorded 37 tackles, 13.0 TFL, with 5.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles as a senior. Speed is a big part of his game, and he was a state finalist in the 100m, 110m hurdles, and 300m hurdles for his high school track team. He will be joining a linebacker room that is losing a handful of starters this year.
Offensive Linemen Kendall Stanley: Two-star recruit from Charlotte, North Carolina. Stanley was named All-Southwestern 4A Conference and selected to the Queen City Senior Bowl. He will provide great length at 6'6, 320 to a talented offensive line group.
Wide Receiver Roger "Fresh" Walters:
Two-star recruit from Port St. Lucie, Florida. Walters is a very versatile athlete who can produce in the return game and all over the field on offense. He registered 23.8 yards per catch, nine receiving touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and four touchdowns in the return game in 2021.
Linebacker Reid Williford: Three-star recruit from Nashville, Tennessee. Williford had 42 tackles, 3.5 TFL, and an interception as a senior. He also spent time at wide receiver, adding 702 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to his resume, getting him a spot on the Tennessee East-West All-Star Classic. Williford will look to compete for playing time starting this spring.
Step in the right direction
Head Coach Will Healy stated Charlotte won some tough recruiting battles for the first time since he's been the 49ers coach. He hopes this class builds a solid foundation for the program's move to the AAC and turns Charlotte into something special.
It will be interesting to see what other additions Healy and company pull off through the transfer portal before the 2022 season begins and how quickly these new prospects can make an impact.
Healy did note that he didn't want to announce any transfers that have committed because the reality is that they have to recruit those guys until the day school starts next year. Keeping them wanting to come to Charlotte and making them see what they can be a part of is what Healy wants to make sure his staff is doing.
It will be interesting to see just how all the pieces fit together. With the third-ranked class in the conference and some coaching changes, Charlotte is heading in the right direction to improve upon a season where they only won two games after starting 3-1 will be a main headline heading into the spring, 2023 season.