West Meck’s Mayela joins first Charlotte recruiting class

Safety will debut as a 49er in 2013

by Cliff Mehrtens

West Mecklenburg High safety Prince Mayela (wearing hat) signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Charlotte. Front row (from left) is Genevieve Mayela, Prince Mayela, Priscilla Brewer and Gregory Brewer III. Standing is (from left) Jessica Mayela, Lashonda Mayela and Felicia Mayela. (Cliff Mehrtens/MIM photo)

West Mecklenburg High’s Prince Mayela is hoping to be part of something new and successful.

Mayela, the Hawks’ star football safety, signed a national letter of intent Feb. 14 as part of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s first recruiting class. The fledgling 49ers program will begin play in the fall of 2013.

“I liked the coaching staff, the school, just everything about the program,” Mayela said. “And it’s close, so my family will be nearby and be able to see me play. I believe Charlotte is where I fit in best.”

Six family members, spanning three generations, surrounded Mayela as he signed documents in a school meeting room.

Last season, Mayela (5 foot 10 and 160 pounds) had four interceptions and five fumble recoveries. He also considered recruiting offers from Appalachian State and N.C. Central. But new Charlotte coach Brad Lambert’s push made Mayela’s decision a cross-town one.

“I feel like my hard work is paying off,” Mayela said. “And the academics are important to me, too. If all else fails, I will always have that to fall back on.”

West Mecklenburg coach Jeff Caldwell said Charlotte is getting much more than just a football player.

“I think Prince was attractive to them because of his whole character,” Caldwell said. “He’s been class president all four years (at West Mecklenburg). He does the right thing when no adult is around. Charlotte is starting their program, and they need good character guys.

“Their program will be looked at early on, and he fits that mold. I know he’ll continue to attack his academics. He’s a great team player and a good leader.”

Caldwell said Mayela, and all of Charlotte’s first recruiting class, will have a year to acclimate to college life. The 49ers won’t play in 2012, giving Lambert and his staff ample time to implement their strategies.

That idle season – at least in terms of no games being played – will give Mayela a chance to improve his conditioning and technique.

Mayela is West Mecklenburg’s second college signee this school year, joining linebacker Tashion Singleton, who signed with Appalachian State in February.

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