Somehow, after an offseason when Charlotte football revamped its roster — changing head coaches and bringing in over 70 new players — the 49ers are a more familiar opponent for Maryland football than they were when the Terps cruised to a win in the Queen City last year.

Saturday’s matchup in College Park will feature a host of faces with ties to Maryland — the school and the state. It starts with head coach Biff Poggi, who spent most of the last 30 years coaching with Baltimore high schools Gilman and Saint Frances. He coached Terrapins coach Mike Locksley’s son Kai.

“Coach Poggi, who I don’t just call an opponent, he’s also a dear friend,” Locksley said Tuesday, “... I know he’ll have his team ready to come play up here. It’s kind of a homecoming for him and some of the players on his roster.”

Six former Terps — Zion Shockley, T.J. Butler, Ja’Khi Green, Austin Fontaine, Isaiah Hazel and Joey Bearns III — transferred to Charlotte. Green is one of 28 former Saint Frances players on the 49ers roster.

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Green and Hazel started at right guard and safety, respectively, in Charlotte’s season-opening 24-3 win over South Carolina State. Starting quarterback Jalon Jones and linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green, the latter of whom transferred from Michigan, were also former Panthers.

Three Terps — Jaishawn Barham, Andre Roye Jr. and Ryan Manning — went to Saint Frances.

49ers offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Miller spent four seasons under Locksley, most recently as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. Current Terps playcaller Josh Gattis and Poggi were on Michigan’s staff in 2021 as offensive coordinator and associate head coach, respectively.

Even with all that overlap, the Terps don’t know exactly what to expect from the Charlotte offense because of the blowout win.

“I don’t know how much they showed or how much they needed of their offense a week ago,” Locksley said Thursday. “... Biff loves gap schemes, and he loves to run the ball downhill. … We’ve got a lot of hypotheses about [Charlotte’s offense], but we’re going to have to kind of let it play out and be prepared for a little bit of everything.”

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Avery, Williams status updates

The biggest coup of Locksley’s 2023 recruiting class, defensive end Neeo Avery, did not play in the Terps’ win over Towson.

Avery, the No. 7 recruit in Maryland per 247Sports, flipped to the Terps from Ole Miss on early signing day.

Locksley said he doesn’t know when the freshman will return but noted the team expects him to be an instant contributor to a pass rush that finished sixth in the Big Ten in pressures last year, per Sports Info Solutions.

“He is an impact player from day one for sure. We just don’t know when day one is,” the coach said. “... But there’s no doubt that he has that ability … especially in some of the areas that we need help, which is rushing the passer.”

Safety Avantae Williams, a transfer from Miami and a former four-star recruit, did not play in the season opener even as the Terps emptied the bench in a blowout. He was not listed on the team’s pregame availability report. Locksley called the move a coach’s decision and said Williams would be available against Charlotte.

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NBC partnership begins

Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff will be on NBC, the first Maryland game to appear on the network since a 2011 loss to Notre Dame, per a team spokesperson. The Big Ten agreed to televise games on the network in August 2022. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge will call the game.

“With this time slot being a national TV time slot, it’s good for Maryland,” Locksley said. “It’s good for us to showcase the university, it’s good for us showcase the things that we have here in the DMV area, so we’re excited about the opportunity.”

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