Although Saturday’s matchup between the Liberty Flames and Auburn Tigers will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the gridiron, junior defensive lineman Jessie Lemonier is no stranger to Auburn football.
Lemonier’s older brother, Corey, was an all-SEC lineman for Auburn; where he played from 2010-2012. During that time, he won also won a national championship. He was selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers; and played stints with the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, and the New York Jets.
“It’s a dream come true, ’cause I was always thinking about, you know, imitating my brother and going to Auburn like him,” the younger Lemonier said of Saturday’s matchup. ” . . . seeing that Auburn’s on the schedule, and just my mind was blown. Like, this is big-time.”
It remains yet to be seen if the Ventura College transfer will become the follow in his brother’s footsteps and play in the NFL, but Lemonier has certainly made a good case for himself. Lemonier is second on the team in tackles and first in sacks with nine: seven ahead of Juwan Wells, who has two. Better yet, Flames fans have the luxury of enjoying Lemonier for another season.
“We knew that he could be disruptive as a pass rusher, we knew he would be strong in the run game, we just knew it was a matter of time for coach Singletary to continue to work with him and him to learn our defense,” Liberty defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly said of Lemonier early this season. “And I’m telling you, the light bulb is just coming on for him.”
“He’s really starting to understand what we want from him, how we want him to respond to certain fronts . . . we call his ceiling scary, how good he can be, because he’s still just coming into it.”
Lemonier, who is also tied for sixth in the nation in sacks, spoke on the challenge of stopping Auburn quarterback Jared Stidham.
“Stidham, he’s a really good quarterback. I feel like, like Solomon said, the best quarterback we’ll probably face,” Lemonier said.
Lemonier’s twitter handle reads, “Your QB’s best friend.” Lemonier will look to introduce himself to Stidham this Saturday, Nov. 17 in Auburn. Perhaps a new friendship is in the making.