Following the breakout play of quarterback Malik Willis in 2020, it became more and more apparent that the talented signal caller would forego his COVID year of eligibility in 2022 and Liberty would be looking for its next starter. As head coach Hugh Freeze and the Flames began to consider that possibility, he wanted to raise the level of competition in the room.
Prior to the December signing period just a few months ago, the only quarterbacks Liberty had on its roster behind Willis were Johnathan Bennett, Kaidon Salter, and Nate Hampton. While all are talented options, they had a combined zero starts at the college level. So, Freeze turned to the transfer portal where he found Charlie Brewer.
The 6’1″, 208 pound Brewer started 39 games for Baylor from 2017-2020, helping the Bears to the Big 12 championship game in 2019. He began his Baylor career under head coach Matt Rhule who is now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Brewer ranks second on Baylor’s career list for passing yards (9,700) and passing touchdowns (65). He then transferred to Utah prior to the 2021 season and won the starting job before being benched three games into the season, at which point he entered the portal.
“I don’t think I fit there very well,” Brewer said of Utah. “I don’t think I fit well in the offense, kinda wanted to get something more like (Liberty). I feel more comfortable in this kind of offense. Liberty is perfect.”
Having never redshirted and the extra year of eligibility due to COVID, Brewer was able to treat the 2021 season as his redshirt year, and he can utilize the COVID year during the 2022 campaign.
“I think I fit the offense pretty well,” Brewer said of Liberty and Freeze’s system. “Play fast, that’s when I’ve been at my best throughout my career is playing fast and all the different RPOs in this offense. Really, what intrigued me too, is Coach Freeze’s track record with quarterbacks. I know some of those guys. There’s been a lot of success with him and quarterbacks.”
Brewer says his playing style fits the Liberty RPO based offense that Freeze has become known for.
“I can get the ball out of my hands quick,” he said, “which is a lot of what is asked in this offense to get the ball out and be accurate. I kind of feel like I can do those two things very well.”
Being the newest guy in the quarterback room this spring, Brewer’s toughest uphill challenge has been learning the Liberty playbook. He’s been able to turn to Freeze, quarterbacks coach Kent Austin, and the other quarterbacks to help get him caught up to speed.
“It’s been really good,” Brewer said of the spring session to this point. “Getting here in January, it was important to get down the new playbook for spring ball. Seems like there’s still a ways to go with that, but feels like I’ve made some good progress.”
Brewer is firmly in the mix of the quarterback battle this spring to help replace Willis. Freeze has stated that the race is wide open right now and he is hopeful to narrow the options from four to as few as two by the end of the spring. Regardless of how the quarterback battle plays out, Brewer has helped elevate the competition level in that room this spring.
“I believe competition, in general, makes us all better if you accept it,” said Freeze when asked about Brewer. “The people that want or feel something should be given to them probably won’t fare very well when the competitiveness starts in a position group or on a team, but there’s no question that he’s elevated the competition in that room. I haven’t seen any signs that the other kids are backing down from that competition. It’s always good to have a guy who has some experience that has played in some games like the ones we’re going to be asked to play and had some success in them. I think it’s a positive all the way around.”
Brewer’s older brother, Michael Brewer, played his college football at Virginia Tech where he was their starting quarterback in 2014 and 2015. The younger Brewer has welcomed the competition at quarterback this spring.
“I think competition is great,” he said. No Matter what school you go to across the country, there’s going to be competition at each position. I feel like I just embrace competition.”