49ers’ coach Will Healy on star player Alex Highsmith
Observations on the Charlotte 49ers’ first depth chart of the season, released Saturday by coach Will Healy ahead of Thursday’s season opener against Gardner-Webb at Richardson Stadium:
▪ Healy still hasn’t decided who will start at quarterback against the Bulldogs but continues to say he’s equally comfortable with Chris Reynolds or Brett Kean. Healy said Reynolds, last season’s starter until he got injured in the sixth game, has improved greatly from the competition with Kean, a grad transfer from South Florida.
▪ Two late additions to the roster — defensive tackle Demond Stewart and punter Connor Bowler — have won starting jobs. Healy says Stewart, a transfer from Iowa Central Community College, hasn’t gotten completely in shape yet. Bowler, a grad transfer from Temple, has beaten out last year’s punter Kyle Corbett.
▪ Redshirt freshman Jonnie Pitman is the starter at nickle back, but senior D.J. Anderson, recovering from an injury, could take that spot. Anderson is also a backup corner. Pittman played in four games last season but preserved a year of eligibility due to new NCAA redshirt rules.
▪ Junior Tyler Ringwood has taken the wide receiver spot vacated by Rico Arnold, who’s out for the season with a foot injury. Sophomore Cameron Dollar (East Lincoln High) will start at slot. Look for a group of freshmen — Noah Henderson, Micaleous Elder, Tre Goode and Justin Jeffery — to also see action.
▪ There have been lots of minor injuries on the offensive line in August. But the group that figured to start all along — left tackle Cam Clark, left guard Dominic Taylor, center Jaelin Fisher, right guard Jalen Allen and right tackle D’Mitri Emmanuel — are healthy now.
QB: Chris Reynolds or Brett Kean. RB: Benny LeMay, Aaron McAllister. WR: Victor Tucker, Justin Jeffery, Tre Goode. LT: Cameron Clark, Dejan Rasuo. LG: Dominic Taylor, Jonathan Timmons. C: Jaelin Fisher, Gage Welborn. RG: Jalen Allen, Dominic Taylor. RT: D’Mitri Emmanuel, Malik Harkness. WR: Tyler Ringood, Noah Henderson. Slot: Cameron Dollar, Micaleous Elder, Cam Bent. TE: Jacob Hunt, Christian Roberson.
DE: Alex Highsmith, Damon Weldon, Michael Kelly. DT: Tommy Doctor, Johnny Ray. DT: Demond Stewart, Timmy Horne. DE: Tyriq Harris, Markees Watts. LB: Jeff Gemmell, Jaylon Sharpe. LB: Henry Segura, Prince Bemah. N: Jonnie Pitman, Christian Haynes, Dillon Overholt. CB: Nafees Lyon, Lance McMillan. SS: Marquavis Gibbs, Matt Martinez. FS: Ben DeLuca, Jacione Fugate. CB: Marquill Osborne, D.J. Anderson.
P: Connor Bowler, Kyle Corbett. K: Jonathan Cruz, Jackson Vansickle. LS: Jack Wellenhofer, Doug McLaughlin. H: Chris Reynolds.