2018 College Football Team Previews: Charlotte 49ers

Charlotte 49ers
Location: Charlotte, NC
Coach: Brad Lambert (17-41) 6th Season
Stadium: Jerry Richardson Stadium (Capacity: 15,314)

CSJ Projections:
13th: Conference USA (7th in East Division)
10th: North Carolina
129th: FBS
195th: Division I

2017 In A Sentence: The 49ers failed to improve during its first three seasons at the FBS level, finishing the 2017 season with a 1-11 record with the lone win over UAB and have went just 7 – 29 over the course of its three seasons at this level.

Biggest Shoes to Fill: Charlotte’s all-time leading KR/WR Chris Montgomery ranked second in C-USA with a 21.7 kick return average. He had six returns of 30 or more yards, including a career-best 65-yard return at Southern Miss. The senior owns the school record with 2,147 career kick return yards. His 802 return yards in 2017 are the second-most all-time. He also threw a game-winning two-point conversion pass in the 49ers OT and lone season victory over UAB and had a two-point conversion catch.

Courtesy of Charlotte

Key Player: Junior S Ben LeDuca has been a two-year starting already.  He ranks third all-time in school history with 170 career tackles. His 102 tackles, last year, are third-most in a single season. He had 10 or more tackles in five games including a string of four straight C-USA games.  His 17 tackles vs. Marshall are the most by a 49er in an FBS game. He ranked second in C-USA with 10.9 tackles in league play. He led Conference USA in both forced fumbles (5) and fumbles recovered (3).

Fearless Prediction: Several coaching changes under Head Coach Lambert were made in the offseason in replacing both their offensive coordinator (former Youngstown State’s Shane Montgomery) and defensive co-coordinators (former  Oklahoma State’s Glenn Spencer & Howard’s Chip West). But without a fairly major overturn (especially since Charlotte has a new athletic director in place this year) expect more changes to come.

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