Liberty place 9 players on Phil Steel’s Preseason All-Independent team, led by four Flames who were named to the first team.
RB Joshua Mack, DL TreShaun Clark, DB Javon Scruggs, and KR Shedro Louis paved the way for the Flames on Phil Steel’s first-team preseason All-Independent team. On the 2nd team, Liberty’s WR Demario Douglas, TE Johnny Huntley, OL Tristan Schultz, DL Elijah James, and LS Austin Mock got the nod.
Liberty’s 9 total selections placed 4th among the 7 FBS Independents. BYU led the way with 14 selections, followed by Notre Dame’s 13 and Army’s 11. New Mexico State had 6 honorees, while UConn had 4 and UMass placed 3.
The Flames’ 4 first-team selections also placed 4th among the Independents. Notre Dame and BYU tied with 8 first-team selections while Army placed 5. Liberty’s 5 second-team selections tied for 3rd most with Notre Dame and New Mexico State as BYU and Army each placed 6 on the second-team.
Mack finished his first season on the field for the Flames in 2019 rushing for 792 yards and 7 touchdowns. This season, he is expected to take the reigns on Liberty’s rushing attack following the departure of senior Frankie Hickson. Mack led all of FCS in rushing in 2017 at Maine before sitting out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
As a true freshman, Clark played in all 13 games and started the final 7 in 2019. He finished the season with 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
Scruggs started 11 games in 2019 as he finished 5th on the team with 58 tackles while also adding 4.5 tackles for a loss, 3 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery.
Louis was a dynamic returner as a true freshman in 2019, finishing 13th in the country in kickoff return yards, averaging 27.6 per return. He returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Maine and finished the season with 662 total return yards, the 6th best total in school history.
A surprising name on the 2nd team, Douglas redshirted in 2019 after playing 4 games. He recorded 9 receptions for 136 yards and 1 touchdown.
Huntley led all tight ends in 2019 with 196 receiving yards and a touchdown, coming in Liberty’s Cure Bowl victory over Georgia Southern.
Schultz started all 13 games at left tackle in 2019, and he has been a name to watch as a 2021 NFL Draft day sleeper.
After transferring in from JUCO prior to the 2019 season, James played in all 13 games. He finished the season with 19 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, and a QB hurry. His role is expected to increase significantly in 2020.
Mock has served as Liberty’s starting long snapper each of the past two seasons.