"It just feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," said Starnes. "It feels good that I have a place I can call home."
"I've had a good relationship with them for a while. They weren't sure that they were going to be able to offer me because of their numbers – but they offered me."
The visit to the school's campus helped him make his decision.
"I went up there last Saturday and I toured the campus," he said "Then, I talked to the coaches and we talked about how I would fit in if I decided to go there. I just loved everything they had to say and it felt like home to me."
Starnes had been in contact with the 49ers' coaching staff for several months.
"Coach (Bruce) Tall, who is the defensive coordinator, we've talked for about six months," said the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Starnes. "He's always been straight up with me and what their situation was and I have been honest with him. I trust him a lot and that was a big thing."
The Charlotte coaching staff likes the fact that Starnes can play multiple positions.
"They liked how versatile I am," he said. "I can play outside linebacker, inside linebacker, tight end, or the H-back position they have."
Next fall will be the first season for the 49ers' football program.
"I think it's great," he said. "We get to start traditions that will be there for a long time. So I'm excited about that."
With his decision made, Starnes feels much better about his future.
"I feel like I can enjoy myself now," he said. "It's just a relief. Now, I feel like I can just work harder to be ready to play when I get there, instead of working to make a team somewhere."
The Citadel and Appalachian State were still recruiting Starnes at the time of his commitment.