Photo credit: Charlotte Football Twitter
On the offensive side, Charlotte has added over 20 transfers as they look to reshape the roster. Head Coach Biff Poggi has chosen not to call this a rebuild, and I think the reason is, rebuilds are more time consuming. As he stated, he’s too old for that. Poggi has also clearly laid out his expectation for the Forty-Niners program under him, to win and to do it now. He’s gone as far to say if he doesn’t win in year 1, that Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics, Mike Hill, should fire him.
When looking at the roster from last year, there are some key losses to call out: QB1 Chris Reynolds and elite WR tandem Grant DuBose (Green Bay Packers) and Elijah Spencer (Minnesota Golden Gophers). You can argue Taylor Thompson here, but I’m not sure how great he would have fit the new scheme.
Jalon Jones, Quarterback
Jones comes to CLT from Bethune Cookman (also had stops at Florida, Jackson State and Mississippi Delta) where he posted 2,275 passing yards (14 TDs, 7 INTs), and a 59% completion percentage in 2022. On the ground, Jones ran for nearly 600 yards, averaging 52 yards per game and 5 TDs.
When Charlotte experienced their best stretch of football, Will Healy and Alex Atkins unleashed the dual-threat capabilities of Chris Reynolds. I expect to see that this year with Biff Poggi and Mike Miller, Jalon Jones is a tremendous athlete, and should be playing behind a more talented offensive line this season compared to the one that surrendered 42 sacks in 2022.
Kevin Williams Jr., Offensive Line
WIlliams is a 6’5 338 lineman and has experience playing guard and tackle. He spent 2022 with the Nebraska Cornhuskers and earned the starting spot at right tackle vs Ohio State, but ultimately suffered a season ending injury. In 2021 for Northern Colorado, he also suffered a season ending injury. Williams was the first pick in the Spring Game draft, so the staff clearly sees his talent, and his prior experience shows us he could be either a tackle or a guard.
Durell Robinson, Running Back
Charlotte’s first commit ever during the Under Armour All-American game. For one, no doubt that his commitment to Charlotte on that stage was strategic, the publicity and eyeballs in the college football space that saw that was well worth the wait to land Biff Poggi’s first four-star commitment (per ESPN) from a high school prospect. Robinson (6’1, 193) comes from St. Frances Academy and is expected to be a workhorse for CLT in a run-oriented offense.
Jaden Bradley, Wide Receiver
A transfer from the Pittsburgh Panthers that gives Jalon Jones a big target at 6’4 on the outside. Over 2 seasons (18 games) with Pitt, Bradley reeled in 19 catches for 259 yards and 2 TDs.
Jasper Parks, Offensive Line
A Sioux Falls (D2) transfer, Parks is 6’7 315 and I’ve heard him described as an “animal” on the field.
Jack Hestera, Wide Receiver
Grant Gonya, Punter, former D3 All-American
Tyler Thomas, Offensive Line
Jai’lun Hampton, Offensive Line
You’ll note multiple offensive linemen listed here, it was clearly an area that needed to be flipped, and they did that. 2 returning names to keep an eye on here are: Johnny King and Panda Askew.