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Topsail's Thomas is first 49er


Topsail's Will Thomas committed as a wide receiver to Charlotte, which plans to begin playing football in the 2013 season. (Photo by StarNews file photo)


Will Thomas was up early Wednesday morning. The senior football player at Topsail High School became the first UNC Charlotte recruit to fax in his national letter of intent, cementing his place in the record books as the 49ers' first football player.

Thomas committed as a wide receiver to Charlotte, which plans to begin playing football in the 2013 season. When 49ers head coach Brad Lambert visited Topsail weeks before signing day, Thomas said he wanted to be the first to sign.

"He and I talked about it," Topsail coach Bryan Davis said. "The coolest thing is you're the very first one. When they're a great program and have won national acclaim, you'll be the first NLI in that museum. Whether you're good or bad, you're going to be the ugly guy that signs with them."

True to his word, Thomas arrived at school at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, and sent in his papers by fax at 7:02 a.m. The 49ers posted a YouTube video of the school's first signing day, which shows the Lambert's reaction when Thomas' fax came through.

The chance to play at Charlotte held unique opportunities for Thomas, who will redshirt along with the rest of the first recruiting class.

"There were so many positives," Davis said. "He was going to have to go into a lot of schools and redshirt, and he'll have to redshirt at Charlotte. But he doesn't need to play right way. But as a player he doesn't have to fight history, or look over his shoulder. He's going to be the elder statesmen on campus."