With the release of the post-spring depth chart, we will be breaking down each position over the coming days of what to expect from Liberty’s 2016 depth chart. We began with the cornerbacks on Friday and move to their kinfolk, the safeties.
For a 2nd consecutive season, Liberty must replace a returning starter at safety due to an off-the-field issue. Last year it was Gary Sampson, this year the Flames must replace A.J. James and his 71 tackles. “We feel good about where we are and where we’re going. We have a lot of good depth,” Coach Gill said of the safeties.
1. Solomon McGinty (JR., 6-2, 225)
Coach Gill was very high on McGinty throughout spring practice as the JUCO transfer from Navasota, Texas immediately came in and made an impact. He was who the coaching staff sought out after James was dismissed from the team, and, so far, he has been exactly what the coaching staff wanted. After playing a couple of seasons of JUCO ball at Tyler Junior College, McGinty’s a veteran and ready to step in and contribute immediately. If he’s able to produce in the fall like he did in the spring, the secondary won’t miss a beat.
2. Rion Davis (R-Fr., 6-0, 185)
Davis set a new team record with an 11’2” broad jump in April. That mark would have been one of the top jumps of all defensive backs at the 2016 NFL Draft Combine. Coach Gill raved about the redshirt-freshman: “His biggest attribute, (is) he can flat out run. He has good length, very athletic and tough. Rion can play a lot of positions. We’re glad to have him on our team as we think he has a tremendous future ahead of him.”
1. Cam Jackson (So., 6-1, 185)
After redshirting in 2014, Cam Jackson saw playing time in all 11 games in 2015. He finished the season with 10 tackles in a reserve role at safety. He entered the spring surprisingly ahead of senior Alpha Jalloh at one safety spot, and held onto that spot throughout the spring. “Cam Jackson has come on very, very strong,” Gill remarked.
2. Alpha Jalloh (Sr., 6-1, 195)
Whether he’s the starter or not, the senior Jalloh will see plenty of playing time in the fall. He finished the 2015 season ranking in the top 5 on the team in total tackles and 2nd in interceptions. He made the biggest highlight play for the defense in the spring game as he intercepted a wayward pass and returned it for a touchdown.
1. Corbin Jackson (So., 6-0, 190)
After a breakout freshman campaign at the hybrid linebacker/safety Spur, Corbin Jackson has been moved to a safety spot. Corbin totaled 47 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss while starting 10 of 11 games. He’ll be needed to continue his playmaking in 2016 as he becomes one of the veterans on the back-end.
2. Elijah Benton (R-Fr., 6-1, 185)
After attending LCA, Benton redshirted as a freshman last year. He turned enough heads during the spring to be named most improved on special teams.