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Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
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Charlotte Opens Season at Campbell, Thursday


Season Two of Charlotte 49ers football is one week away as the 49ers continue preseason training for the season-opener, Aug. 28 at Campbell. Charlotte’s home opener is Sat., Sept. 6 vs. Johnson C. Smith.

Head coach Brad Lambert welcomes back 16 starters (8 off; 8 def) among the 53 returning letterwinners. The returnees include starting QB Matt Johnson, leading rusher Kalif Phillips and top receivers Austin Duke and Trent Bostick. The offensive and defensive lines are back and intact and the 49ers also welcome back ILB Caleb Clayton-Molby, who ranked third in the FCS in forced fumbles and CB Terrance Winchester, who led the 49ers with three interceptions.

The roster has been complemented with the 49ers third signee class, which includes five players who signed in December and enrolled in January, 2013: 6-2 defensive end Josh Manley; 6-0 safety Branden Dozier; 6-2 inside Linebacker Nick Cook; 6-3 H-back Richard Murphy and 6-3 quarterback Brooks Barden.

The 49ers Coaching staff underwent some changes in the offseason. Tight Ends coach Johnson Richardson was promoted from a graduate assistant position and former NFL star Aaron Curry was hired on as a defensive graduate assistant. In addition, the 49ers added three other graduate assistants: Scotty Braswell, Mikel Hunter and Matt Woodlief. Braswell and Woodlief served in staff positions, last year while Hunter was a starting WR and kick return specialist. Head coach Brad Lambert has taken over the Inside Linebackers coaching position, to replace Drew Dayton, who resigned to take a position outside the field of collegiate athletics.

The 11-game 2014 Charlotte 49ers Football schedule includes four schools that were ranked or receiving votes in the final 2013 FCS national polls and eight teams that appeared on the inaugural 2013 schedule. The 49ers have six home games and five road games. Three of the six home games are against teams that were ranked or receiving votes in the final FCS National polls: Charleston Southern, James Madison and Coastal Carolina. The 49ers will enjoy bye weeks Oct. 18 and Nov. 1.

In just their second season, the 49ers have eight seniors on their roster, including three returning starters: OL Daniel Blitch, ILB Caleb Clayton-Molby and S Desmond Cooper. The 49ers also bring back seniors OLB Tyler DeStefani, RB Quintin Gay, DB Ardy Holmes, DL Devon Johnson and H Mark Montini.

Top Returners:

Passing: Matt Johnson 2581 yds (223-371; 234.6/gm; 21 TD)

Rushing: Kalif Phillips 744 yds (129 carries; 5.6 avg.; 12 TD)

Matt Johnson, 418 yds (96 carries; 4.4 avg.; 3 TD)

Receiving: Austin Duke 727 yds (62 catches; 11.7 avg.; 6 TD)

Trent Bostick 594 yds (42 catches; 14.1 avg.; 4 TD)

Touchdowns: Kaliff Phillips 13 TDs (12 rush; 1 rec.)

Austin Duke 6 TDs (6 rec.)

Tackles: Caleb Clayton-Molby, 67 tackles

Nico Alcalde, 60 tackles

Solo Tackles: Caleb Clayton-Molby 46 solo tackles

Nico Alcalde, 42 solo tackles

Tackles for loss: Larry Ogunjobi 9.5 TFL

Nico Alcalde, 7.0 TFL

QB Sacks: Larry Ogunjobi 2.5

3 with 2.0

QB Hurries: Larry Ogunjobi 10

Brandon Banks 9

Forced Fumbles: Caleb Clayton-Molby 4

Fumble recoveries: Caleb Clayton-Molby 3

Interceptions: Terrance Winchester 3

FCS Schedule Strength:

Coastal Carolina (Nov. 8) is ranked 7th in the Sports Network preseason poll while James Madison (Oct. 25), Charleston Southern (Sept. 27) and Gardner-Webb (Oct. 4) are all receiving votes. Charlotte plays three of those four at home (Coastal; JMU and CSU). Seven of the 49ers 11 opponents had .500 records or better, last year. The 49ers face three opponents that they did not play, last year (JC Smith; Elon; The Citadel). Last year, the 49ers finished the season with a SRS (Simple Rating System) of 78 among the 120+ FCS programs.

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