Charlotte 49ers Football Recruiting: National Signing Day Countdown--Offense/Athletes

With the Charlotte 49ers partaking in their second ever National Signing Day in less than two weeks, here’s a quick read on the verbal commits that Brad Lambert and his staff have sewn up at this point in time. As always, these aren’t official until pen hits paper two weeks from Wednesday, but this is just to help you keep track of where things are. We’ll start with offense and athletes and look over the defense and special teams over the weekend.

The Niners picked up a couple of nice gets when they were able to snag OT Eugene German from Martinsburg (WV) and local offensive guard Tevin Lawshe from state power Mallard Creek (NC). German and Lawshe both have big game experience–Lawshe’s Mavericks appeared in back-to-back state semifinal games while German, named the top lineman in football-rich West Virginia, played on a Martinsburg squad that won three straight Class AAA titles. They hope to be a big part of Charlotte’s offensive line, if not right away, then as upperclassmen. Significant for both players is that they were garnering some interest from a couple of FBS schools–Marshall had offered German (impressive job by o-line coach Phil Ratliff, a ’94 grad of Marshall, to win that recruiting battle against his alma mater) while Lawshe received an offer from ECU and Georgia State, among others.

Backs and Receivers
Kalif Phillips and Jachin Watkins, both running backs, and wideout Trent Bostick round out the Niners’ offensive verbals. Phillips, another local product from Brown (NC) in Kannapolis, was an all-county selection that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of looks thanks to a deep talent pool statewide, may be a diamond in the rough (he also appeared in the Shrine Bowl last month and got some good reviews). Watkins, who joined Phillips on the Shrine Bowl roster, rushed for 1,478 yards and 79 touchdowns (averaging 8.21 yards per carry) for a 15-0 New Bern (NC) team that won the 4A state championship in 2012 (thanks to Watkins’ TD rush with 22 ticks remaining in the contest). Like Phillips, he may be ready to make waves at the college level despite getting only one offer (from Bryant). With only two RBs on the roster (Alan Barnwell, who looked good in the fall scrimmages, and Donjore Gainey) these two could make for some interesting battles in practice over the summer, along with Porter Ridge (NC) athlete Chris Duffy (could we see either as short yardage or red zone options in the Niner offense?  Time will tell).
Bostick was a top receiver on his Richmond County (NC) squad and may have a rough time breaking through a crowded group at wideout (seven currently on the Niner roster).  It’s not very likely that he will see much time given the number of players already at his position.

The aforementioned Duffy, primarily a running back in high school, along with South Pointe(SC)’s Devin Pearson, are listed as athletes for the class of 2013. Duffy will be very familiar to Watkins: it was Watkins’ New Bern team that slipped past Porter Ridge in states in 2012. Duffy performed well as a halfback, rushing for over 1452 yards and 20 touchdowns on 201 carries (7.22 yards per), so while he has lesser numbers than Watkins, he could push for a little playing time. Pearson, who went to school about 45 minutes south of the UNCC campus, is certainly the more versatile of the pair–he threw for 1,669 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 889 yards on 170 carries in his senior season (parlaying that into a South Carolina North-South All Star Game appearance)–and has seen time at cornerback as well. It will be interesting to see where he is used once he dons the green and white of Charlotte this fall; there’s certainly no shortage of options for him.

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