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Buford's LeGrant joins Charlotte during exciting time

Staff Photo: Will Hammock Buford's Rick LeGrant signed his national letter of intent to play football next season at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte during a ceremony on Wednesday.

Staff Photo: Will Hammock Buford's Rick LeGrant signed his national letter of intent to play football next season at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte during a ceremony on Wednesday.

Rick LeGrant will literally watch the construction of football at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The Buford senior, who became part of the 49ers' first signing class on Wednesday, took recruiting trips with his future teammates and saw facilities like the stadium and weight room in various stages of construction. A new football-only fieldhouse also is rising from the ground.

Much like Georgia State's first football signees, Charlotte's incoming freshmen will practice this fall (with no games) and again next spring. They make their college debuts in 2013.

Essentially LeGrant is taking a redshirt year before he joins a program that has garned plenty of excitement with its stunning facilities.

"You hear other (college) coaches talking about (Charlotte's facilities)," Buford head coach Jess Simpson said. "That's how you know it's impressive. It's supposed to be unbelievable."

LeGrant, a defensive end/running back at Buford, figures to be a linebacker at the college level. He had offers from more established programs, but fell in love with the 49ers, their coaches and the city of Charlotte.

While the initial stadium plan will seat slightly more than 15,000 fans, it has the ability to expand up to 60,000 seats if Charlotte follows through and joins FCS as a Conference USA member in 2015, LeGrant said.

"I'm excited," LeGrant said. "It's a first-year program so it's a lot like Georgia State was around here. I'm so happy to be a part of it. I had other options, but this school stood out the most for me."

LeGrant was one of eight Buford senior football players celebrating at the school on Wednesday.

He joined Dequan Clark (Georgia Southern), Ryan Dillard (Yale), Paris Head (Vanderbilt), Robert Hill (Chattanooga), Andre Johnson (Coastal Carolina), C.J. Moore (Virginia) and Nathan Staub (North Carolina).

The Wolves actually had 12 seniors sign letters of intent Wednesday, completing a journey that included three state titles and one state runner-up finish in their careers. Of the four seniors who weren't in attendance, three have already enrolled in colleges -- Vadal Alexander and Reid Ferguson at LSU and Dillon Lee at Alabama. Alabama signee Kurt Freitag is finishing his senior year at another school.