On Tuesday, Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze was asked to identify players that have stood out during preseason training camp as the Flames are just over halfway through camp. There were a few names that immediately jumped out to Liberty’s head football coach – Skyler Thomas, Duron Lowe, Storey Jackson, Stephen Sings, and Aakil Washington.
“Skyler, he has raised my eyebrows and he gave me a good whiplash to my neck that I’ve had therapy on the last three days because he hit me,” Freeze said. “He’s a good player. I think Duron Lowe is one that we’re counting on to be very solid at one of the corners. Storey Jackson I think continues to improve. It’s slowed down for him a little bit with all the new verbiage and installs. Excited about what those transfers can add to what already was somewhat of a veteran group.”
Those are three transfers added to the Liberty defense that should make an immediate impact. Thomas is a safety transfer from Washington State where he played a lot of football. Now, at Liberty, he has quickly asserted himself as a starter for the Flames at the hybrid safety spot that also acts like a nickel. He’s one of the fastest players on the team and was recently clocked at a top speed of just under 24 miles per hour.
Lowe joins the Flames from UTEP where he was a shutdown cornerback and also excelled as a kick returner. He’s part of a three-man rotation among the starting corners for Liberty right now alongside Chris Megginson and Marcus Haskins. Lowe could also factor into the kick return or punt return game behind Shedro Louis and Demario Douglas.
The Flames have been thin at linebacker since Coach Freeze took over in Lynchburg, and Jackson is a transfer from Prairie View A&M where he was an FCS All-American. He just joined the team this summer and it has taken him some time to get acclimated to the defensive system. He has been pushing Aaron Pierre for starter’s time at one of the linebacker spots and will provide much more depth for the Flames at the position this season.
Those weren’t the only three that Freeze mentioned. He also had high remarks for second year defensive ends Stephen Sings and Aakil Washington.
“Stephen Sings has really stood out,” Freeze remarked. “As has Aakil. I think those two young kids are going to play quality snaps for us.”
Sings and Washington played in a limited capacity as true freshman in 2020. Used primarily as pass rush specialists, Sings recorded 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 10 games played last season while Washington finished with seven tackles and one sack in nine games played. Expect to see a much larger impact for this pair as they continue to push starters TreShaun Clark and Durrell Johnson for playing time.