2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 117 Charlotte 49ers
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Charlotte 49ers
No. 117: Charlotte 49ers
Charlotte 49ers Prespring Status
It wasn’t a miserable 2016 season, but the 49ers closed out with a thud, losing three straight when they needed to win two of their last three games to go bowling. This whole FBS thing is still a work in progress, and while the offense should be a positive as the 2017 season goes on, the defense is going to need lots and lots of work. Charlotte improved by two games from FBS Year One to FBS Year Two. This year, improving by two wins means a bowl appearance.
Charlotte 49ers Biggest Issue
The defensive front needs work. RB Kalif Phillips is gone along with just enough key offensive starters to be annoying, but it’s the defensive line that’s going to need the most attention this spring losing Larry Ogunjobi on the nose along with top backup Tanner Fleming and end Brandon Banks. Leading tackler Nick Cook is gone from the linebacking corps, but it’s the loss of Ogunjobi up front – the team’s best player in the backfield – that’ll sting the most.
Charlotte 49ers Biggest Positive
There’s plenty of young talent ready to fill in the defensive gaps. Cook might be done, but three of the top seven tacklers last season were freshmen, and safety Ed Rolle was a sophomore. Three starters return to the secondary and two of the key linebackers are back to anchor the back eight, hoping to make up for some of those key losses up front.
Really, Why Are The Charlotte 49ers Ranked Here?
It’s a wee bit of a rebuilding year. Other than Ogunjobi, and potentially, Phillips from the offensive backfield, there aren’t any irreplaceable parts. But for a team that was miserable at throwing the ball, and worse at stopping the better passing teams, it’s going to take a little while to keep building up the program.