Hasaan Klugh leading Charlotte in mid-season turnaround after getting his shot

Former NC A&T quarterback has Charlotte on the brink of bowl eligibility after being overlooked for starting spot in offseason

Chuck Cook—USA Today Sports
Charlotte 49ers quarterback Hasaan Klugh (16) looks to throw against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the first half at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

Hasaan Klugh knows a thing or two about being overlooked. He’s also experienced in making the most of his opportunities.As a freshman at North Carolina A&T, Klugh was the backup quarterback to Kwashaun Quick to start the 2014 season. But when Quick went down with a knee injury against Howard, Klugh stepped up and led the Aggies to a win over Howard before going 2-1 in the next three games.But when Quick returned, Klugh went back to the bench. Klugh then transferred to Charlotte and waited for his opportunity again. After losing the quarterback battle to Miami and Towson transfer Kevin Olsen, Klugh went back to the bench for the season opener.With the 49ers offense sputtering under Olsen, going 1-4 with Olsen throwing for just two touchdowns to three interceptions over the final three games, Charlotte coach Brad Lambert decided to make a change.Klugh started the next game at Florida Atlantic, going 14-of-17 for 223 yards, three touchdowns and one interception through the air. He also rushed for 54 yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts. It was all-too-familiar territory for the former Central Cabarrus High signal-caller.”All I ever wanted was an opportunity,” Klugh told reporters after the FAU game. “You’ve got to seize the moment when the opportunities come, but they’re blessings, too. … I knew my opportunity was going to come, but I knew that throughout the process if I was going to get a shot, I was going to have to be ready for that shot.”Since Klugh moved into the starting role under center, the Niners have gone 3-1 with their lone loss against Florida International, 27-26, on a last-minute touchdown. He’s accounted for 10 touchdowns (five rushing, five passing) and three interceptions over the last five games.Now at 4-5, Charlotte is on the brink of making a bowl game for the first time in school history. The Niners are also 3-2 in Conference USA, tied for third in the East Division with three games remaining.”They’ve already surpassed what we did last year from a win total, from an offensive total and things like that,” Lambert said. “But ultimately we just want to win this next game and put ourselves in position to play for something each and every week.”With an improved defense and Charlotte’s all-time leading rusher in Kalif Phillips in the backfield, the fourth-year program is in the midst of a special season. But thanks to the switch to the redshirt sophomore quarterback in the middle of the season, the 49ers suddenly have the look of a bowl contender for years to come.Though the future looks bright for Klugh and the program, he isn’t overlooking any team with a seven-win season still possible. The secret to getting there? It’s simple.”We’ve just got to keep balling,” Klugh told reporters. “We have it in the back of our heads about a bowl game and whatnot, but we’ve just got to take it one game at a time.”