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Here’s how the Charlotte 49ers’ Juwan Foggie is making a difference - on, off field

Charlotte 49ers linebacker Juwan Foggie was the team’s third-leading tackler in 2017.
Charlotte 49ers linebacker Juwan Foggie was the team’s third-leading tackler in 2017. Special to the Observer

Juwan Foggie doesn’t take for granted what being a football player for the Charlotte 49ers allows him to do.

He’s a key member of the 49ers. Last season, he was an honorable mention All-Conference USA linebacker who was third on the team with 74 tackles, including 5.5 tackles-for-loss, an interception and fumble recovery.

Top of his mind this week is Charlotte’s season opener Saturday against Fordham at Richardson Stadium and the chance to begin erasing the sour taste of last season’s 1-11 record.

“We have to think about it,” Foggie said of the 2017 season. “It’s something we don’t want to happen again. But we want to build on whatever happened and get better from last year.”

But as Foggie enters his senior season, there’s something else he’s concentrating on: helping and contributing to his communities, both in Charlotte and his hometown of High Point. He does so with such vigor that he was nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and named to The Wuerffel Trophy Watch List. The Good Works Team includes players and an honorary coach who have a passion volunteering and performing civic duties. The Wuerffel Trophy is college football’s top award for community service.

“I view this as I’ve got a scholarship to play football for free, so for me servicing somebody else is something I could do and it’s something there for me to be,” said Foggie, a sociology major who is scheduled to graduate in December. “It’s something I take pride in doing and I get a joy out of doing it.”

Foggie’s list of volunteer activities is long. Over the past year, he helped with the YMCA Miracle League All-Star Game, the Levine Children’s Hospital Dance Marathon, the campus-wide Habitat for Humanity Niner Build, women’s basketball’s Education Day, the CBCC Charlotte 49ers Blood Drive, the SAAC Cares Holiday Donations Drive and baseball’s Greensboro Tornado Relief Drive. Foggie also distributed donations to the Ronald McDonald House and the Project 658 Childcare Program and participated in the Rocky River Elementary 9/11 Day of Remembrance.

“Just doing those things, seeing that smile on a kid’s face or that person’s face after helping them out, that is a joy to me,” Foggie said.

All this comes naturally. As a kid growing up in High Point, Foggie remembers his father Perry pitching in and helping out whenever he could around the neighborhood.

“My dad put that into me early,” said Foggie. “He was always doing stuff around the neighborhood. I said I need to do that, too.”

Foggie isn’t unique as a single 49ers player who helps in the community. Charlotte’s football players - and other 49ers teams - perform volunteer and service work as a matter of course. The football team’s efforts are led by director of student-athlete development Kevin Donnalley.

“Juwan’s the best. You want them to all be like him,” said 49ers coach Brad Lambert. “We’ve got a lot of guys out in the community, representing us in a first-class manner. Juwan’s been that way since he’s been here. We always want our guys to go above and beyond and Juwan is one of those guys.”

There is a football game Saturday, though, and Foggie, who was converted from wide receiver to linebacker in 2017, is ready to erase some bad memories.

“There’s new energy, all the way around,” Foggie said. “Everybody is adjusting now, things are clicking.”