After losing 27 seniors, including 19 who made up its first-ever recruiting class, the Charlotte 49ers football team has started replenishing its roster.
Coach Brad Lambert announced on Thursday that the 49ers have signed four junior college transfers during the mid-year period. All four will enroll at Charlotte for the spring semester and start practicing.
The four signees include offensive lineman David Foust, defensive back Marquavis Gibbs, linebacker Sean Bernard and tight end Ryan Eachus.
Foust, who attended Los Angeles Valley College, could see the most playing time out of the group after three starters along Charlotte’s offensive line graduated. At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, he played left tackle for the Monarchs.
Bernard could also see significant snaps, specifically at inside linebacker, where redshirt senior Nick Cook led the 49ers with 108 tackles a season ago. Like Cook, Bernard attended Butler Community College in Wichita, Kan., where he recorded a team-high 119 tackles in 2016.
DeLuca named All-American
Safety Ben DeLuca became the first Charlotte player to be named to a Freshman All-America team, the one named by Pro Football Focus (PFF). DeLuca and linebacker Tyriq Harris had previously become the first 49ers selected to the Conference USA all-Freshman Team.
According to PFF, DeLuca posted the top coverage grade among freshman safeties at 79.9 and missed only six of his 70 tackle attempts.
DeLuca played in all 12 games for the 49ers this past season and made eight starts. He finished third on the team in tackles, setting a school record for a true freshman.
Austin Duke going to all-star game
Austin Duke, Charlotte’s all-time leading receiver and a graduate of Independence High, has accepted an invitation to the Tropical Bowl, which takes place on Jan. 15 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Tropical Bowl, a Football Bowl Subdivision Division I All Star Game consisting of some of the top seniors in the country, will allow Duke to perform in front of NFL scouts and general managers.