College Sports

3 Charlotte 49ers sign free-agent contracts with NFL teams

Former Charlotte 49ers standout Austin Duke, the school’s all-time leading receiver, signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
Former Charlotte 49ers standout Austin Duke, the school’s all-time leading receiver, signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

NFL teams signed three Charlotte 49ers football players to undrafted free-agent contracts this week, the school announced.

Former Independence High standout Austin Duke, the 49ers’ all-time leading receiver, signed with the hometown Carolina Panthers. He finished his career with 253 catches for 3,437 yards and 24 receiving touchdowns.

Running back Kalif Phillips, the school’s all-time leading rusher, signed with the Green Bay Packers. Phillips, who is from Kannapolis, gained 4,020 career rushing yards and 43 touchdowns.

Defensive lineman Brandon Banks, who ranks second all-time with 43 career starts in 44 games, signed with Washington. He had a career-high 35 tackles last season.

“We're excited about the opportunities for Austin, Kalif and Brandon,” Charlotte coach Brad Lambert said. “That whole class helped lay our foundation and took a chance on us.

“It's great to see them rewarded for their hard work. We are extremely proud of them and what they have accomplished.”

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