By Cameron Lee
April 22, 2020
The Charlotte 49ers may have kicked off their inaugural season in 2013, but it hasn’t taken long for the young program to make an impact in the NFL. In 2017, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was drafted as the 65th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, making him the first player picked from Charlotte. In 2019, offensive tackle Nate Davis was picked 82nd overall by the Tennessee Titans, starting 12 games for the franchise in his rookie campaign.
The 2020 NFL Draft will not only see the league’s first online broadcast, but three Charlotte 49ers prospects projected to be selected. Alex Highsmith, the most publicized and highest ranked prospect of the group is expected to be a mid-round pick, but he most likely won’t be the only player picked as running back Benny LeMay and offensive lineman Cameron Clark are projected to be late-round selections.
Here’s a breakdown of each prospect:
Alex Highsmith – Edge Rusher / 6′ 3″ 248 lbs / Redshirt Senior
The former walk-on from Wilmington’s Eugene Ashley High School, Highsmith ranked 4th in the nation in sacks with 14 and 5th in tackles for loss with 21.5. The lengthy and athletic edge rusher should be coveted by 3-4 teams that seek talented situational pass rushers with high upside. Highsmith is projected to be selected in the third or fourth round of the draft.
Cameron Clark – OL / 6′ 4″ 308 lbs / Redshirt Senior
A three-year starter and a team captain in 2018 and 2019, Clark was also the offensive MVP for the 49ers in 2017. While the Greensboro native has the length to be a tackle in the NFL, many project Clark to move inside to guard. With impressive tape against Clemson back in September, Clark’s stock is rising, projected to be selected anywhere from the fifth to seventh round.
Benny LeMay – RB / 5′ 8″ 221 lbs / Senior
The Charlotte native who attended Butler High School has gradually developed into one of the best running backs in Conference USA. With 120.4 all-purpose yards per game in 2019, and second in the conference in rushing, LeMay is a compact and versatile back that can definitely make an NFL roster. He is projected to be a seventh-round pick on Saturday or a coveted free agent pick-up.
Watch the 2020 NFL Draft starting on Thursday, April 23 at 8 p.m. EST live on NFL Network, ESPN and ABC.