University City

Recruiting for school's football team begins

UNC Charlotte will begin recruiting immediately for its first 49ers football team, and the Charlotte region will be a priority.

With dirt turned for a new stadium, coach Brad Lambert said he plans to sign his first class of high school seniors in February 2012.

Those recruits would begin school in fall 2012.

Sixty-three full scholarships are up for grabs over the next four years for the university's historic Football Championship Subdivision team. Its first game will be in 2013.

The university broke ground on a stadium April 28. Lambert said it was perhaps the program's most important day.

"When you finally put some physical evidence down and move dirt and build structures, people will see that the program is for real," Lambert said. "That's exciting to us coaches and it will be exciting to these kids."

University officials say the football program is also a win for Charlotte. They hope the program will strengthen the bond between the university and the community by creating excitement on and off campus.

In 2008, trustees voted to add football to the athletic program. Plans call for a 15,000 seat stadium that can be expanded to 40,000, a field house and two practice fields as well as other features for the football stadium complex.

The team's inaugural home game is slated for Aug. 31, 2013, against the Campbell University Camels.

Lambert said he expects to bring high school students on campus in June and July for unofficial visits.

"We've been in and out of high schools as recruiting begins," he said.

The first recruiting class will all be redshirted for that year.

Staff writer David Perlmutt contributed to this story.