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Charlotte's Ryan Carriere celebrates after a 49er touchdown.   

Niner nation has always embodied the pioneering spirit and determination to achieve greater heights.

The 49ers' Ryan Carriere has exhibited the Niner way since he stepped on the campus.

Carriere, a redshirt senior, has been at Charlotte for six years. His tenure at Charlotte started when President Obama was in office. Since walking in the doors at Charlotte, Carriere has seen success on and off the field.

"He's the foundation of our football team. The definition of consistency. He's so much fun to be around. I don't know anyone else on the team that our players celebrate the success of more than Ryan's," said head coach Will Healy. "It means a lot to me that he decided to come back for this season. He's an integral part of the development of our program."

Carriere has drawn the attention and respect of players and coaches as he is regarded as the "heart and soul" of the team.

The six-foot-three tight-end said he earned the nickname "Heart and Soul."

"Being here so long, I have been through a lot. On the field, we have had multiple coaches and stuff like that," said Carriere. "I have seen people come and go. With new people, I try to bring them along, and I try to work as hard as I can to be the role model for the younger guys."

On the field, Carriere has been critical for the Niners' offense.

"I know my role," said Carriere.

In Carriere's six seasons as a 49er, he has been a fundamental part of the Niners rushing attack. At tight end, Carriere has been used in schemes to free up space so that his running back has the opportunity to make plays.

This year, however, Carriere's number was called to make plays for Charlotte. Carriere holds himself to a high standard as he is determined "to be the best at getting better."

His superior work ethic has not gone unnoticed, as he continues to gain more responsibility every year. Carriere's role on the team has expanded, as he scored his first touchdown against the FIU Panthers on October 8. Carriere caught a touchdown to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter as the Niners won 45 - 33.

"It felt fantastic. It made me tear up." Carriere said about his first touchdown. "It made me so happy, and everyone came over and just loved up on me. It was just a great feeling."

While playing at the highest level in collegiate sports, Carriere has plenty of achievements off the field. In addition, Carriere has completed his bachelor's degree in computer science with a concentration in software systems and networking.

"I chose to major in computer science because the technology industry is becoming more popular," Carriere said.

He has also started a master's program in data science and business analytics. He is expecting to graduate in December.

Carriere is currently exploring his options after college.

"I want a chance to make it into the NFL. If that doesn't end up happening, I want a career in sports analytics," said Carriere.

Every good thing comes to an end, but Carriere will always be remembered.

"I definitely want to be remembered as the heart and soul," he said.

Carriere wants to follow in the footsteps of past players such as Tyriq "Mr. Niner" Harris. Harris is still brought up in the locker room as he exemplified "the best 49er."

"Following his success last year and becoming the heart and soul this year is such an honor," said Carriere.

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