On Wednesday, Liberty officially announced the addition of 10 transfers that have joined the team.
This list includes QB Ryan Burger (Appalachian State), WR Donte Lee, Jr. (Shaw), WR Tyson Mobley (Coastal Carolina), OL John Paul Flores (Louisville), DL Eli Hall (Wake Foret), LB Teylor Jackson (East Carolina), LB Aidan Vaughan (Wisconsin), LB Jahmar Brown (Coastal Carolina), DB Dominick Hill (Temple), and K/P Colin Karhu (North Greenville).
“With the portal transfer guys, it’s a short window you are trying to get to know them, they’re trying to get to know us,” said Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell. “You think you have an understanding, you really don’t until they are here. I do think we hit on some good players, but I do think from a transfer stand point we hit on some guys that are good people, as well, and fit what we’re trying to do here.”
QB RYAN BURGER
The 6’3″, 205 pound Burger entered the transfer portal after two seasons at Appalachian State. He suffered a season ending hand injury in the first half of the first game of the 2023 season. Burger played in just two games while at App State, starting the 2023 opener, completing 11 of 17 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. He also played 26 snaps against Robert Morris as a true freshman in 2022. After receiving a medical redshirt, Burger has four years of eligibility remaining. He is originally from Myrtle Beach where he threw for 6,474 yards and 70 touchdowns while completing 65% of his passes in three seasons of varsity football in high school.
Burger will be expected to immediately compete for the backup quarterback spot behind Kaidon Salter, he will then be able to compete for the starting spot after Salter’s Liberty career is completed.
“We did know him from high school, recruited him heavily,” Chadwell said of Burger. “He obviously chose the institution that he went to. We had a good relationship. He ended up earning the starting job, got hurt. He’s somebody we knew had high character. We know he has the capability of being a leader from the quarterback room.”
“Also, as you’re planning, you’re always trying to be prepared in case you lose somebody to injury and it was good to have somebody that has some experience that has been in college, that has played in some games because it’s hard to get anybody experience if you have a returning quarterback. Nobody wants to sit the bench. Having a young guy like him, who did earn an opportunity, has played in some college games, has been through college ball, to have that as somebody that can compete to try to push Kaidon but also Jayden (Bradford) and our guys. Jayden has never been in college, so now is he going to respond. You need some guys who have been there, done that to sort of lead the way for him.”
WR DONTE LEE JR
Lee is a 6’3″, 180 pound athlete that entered the portal from Division II Shaw University. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining. Lee has approximately 30 offers since entering the portal in late November. His offer list included NC State, UCF, Iowa State, West Virginia, James Madison, Boston College, Old Dominion, Washington State, UTSA, Marshall, USF, Coastal Carolina, Western Kentucky, and several more. He took official visits to Liberty, NC State, and UConn. He redshirted in 2022 before a breakout redshirt-freshman season in 2023 for Shaw as a wide receiver and kick returner. In 10 games played, Lee had 26 receptions for 402 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 13 kick returns for 326 yards and a touchdown with a long of 98. For his exploits, Lee was named All-CIAA first-team as a kick returner and to the all rookie team.
Lee could make a push to be the Flames’ top target at wide receiver for the 2024 season.
“He is very talented,” Chadwell said of Lee. “If you walk through here, he catches your eye because he is a long, good looking athlete. He’s got speed. The challenge for him is this is a different level from a strength stand point. That’s the area where he has to get better. He needs to step up. Obviously we have a need at our ‘X’ position where a lot of our plays were made last year. We need somebody to step up. We brought him in to compete with some of the current guys we have. From a talent stand point we really like what he’s got. Somebody that we think has a bright future.”
WR TYSON MOBLEY
Mobley was expected to play a significant role in 2023 for the Chanticleers, but, under the new coaching staff, played in just four games with six catches. The 6’0″, 180 pound Mobley has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Now, he gets to return to a coaching staff and offensive system that he is very familiar with. In 2022, Mobley played in all 13 games with 11 starts. He was third on the team with 40 catches for 490 yards and five touchdowns while also serving as Coastal’s punt returner. In 2021, Mobley played in all 13 games with two starts while finishing with 6 catches for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed once for 32 yards and a touchdown. As a true freshman in 2020, Mobley played in five games, finishing with two receptions for 9 yards and two rushes for 25 yards.
OL JOHN PAUL FLORES
The 6’4″, 308 pound Flores spent the 2023 season at Louisville where he played in five games, including a start in the Holiday Bowl against USC, while playing primarily at guard. Originally from Arlington, Texas, Flores played at Virginia for the 2022 season where he started six games while playing all 10.
He spent the first four years of his collegiate career at Dartmouth as a left tackle. He was one of the best linemen in the Ivy League, starting all 20 games for the Big Green in 2019 and 2021. Dartmouth led the Ivy League in rushing in both of these seasons and they won back to back league championships. Dartmouth was 18-2 in games Flores started. He comes from an athletic family, having two brothers that played offensive line in the Ivy League.
Liberty will be looking to replace its two starting guards from the 2023 season in Jon Graham and X’Zauvea Gadlin. Flores will certainly be a name to watch in this competition throughout the spring and into the summer.
DL ELI HALL
Originally from Crest High School and Shelby, North Carolina, Hall was a four-star recruit by Rivals. He was one of the highest rated recruits to ever sign with the Demon Deacons. His offer list out of high school included Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, South Carolina, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and several others.
He ranked as a top 20 prospect in the state of North Carolina for his class out of high school by 247Sports and was rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals. In six games as a senior in high school, Hall recorded 32 tackles, 8 TFLs, and 3 sacks. He helped lead his team to a 10-3 record with Crest winning the league in two of his final three seasons.
He will be able to come in and provide depth for the Flames on the interior of the defensive line while competing for significant playing time.
LB TEYLOR JACKSON
Jackson is a 6’1″, 212 pound linebacker who started all 12 games for the Pirates at Mike linebacker where he made 52 total tackles, 1 sack, 4 pass break ups, 3 QB hurries, and a forced fumble. He has one year of eligibility remaining. From 2020-2022, Jackson played in 29 games at East Carolina.
Since entering the portal on Dec. 4, Jackson received offers from a number of schools including Arizona State, UCF, Temple, Coastal Carolina, Western Kentucky, UTSA, and Georgia Southern. Originally from Washington, DC where he attended National Christian Academy, Jackson had a number of offers out of high school including Boston College, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Pitt, and West Virginia before committing to East Carolina.
Jackson will be counted on by the Flames to help offset the loss of CUSA Defensive Player of the Year Tyren Dupree at linebacker.
LB JAHMAR BROWN
Brown is a 6’1″, 210 pound athlete who has played both defensive back and linebacker and likely projects as a linebacker at Liberty. He has one season of eligibility remaining coming from Coastal Carolina. Brown, a grad transfer, played in 12 games at Coastal this past season with 26 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 4 sacks and 2 passes defended. In 2022, Brown played in seven games for the Chanticleers before suffering a season ending injury. He recorded 21 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, and 3 sacks in 2022. Prior to his time at Coastal, Brown began his career at South Carolina where played in 18 games over three seasons, finishing with 23 tackles.
“The linebacker room is probably our most challenging as far as just depth people that can play,” said Chadwell. “Jahmar and Teylor both have played a good amount of football. They are both one year guys. We lost some guys that played quite a bit, so you want some guys to come in that have some experience. Also, we are trying to build some depth in there. Hopefully guys that can come in and push for playing time but also have multiple years. We feel good about the ones we got this year, for sure. Teylor and Jahmar are good people and players and fit right in.”
LB AIDAN VAUGHAN
A former three-star recruit in the Class of 2022, the redshirt-freshman Vaughan appeared in just one game during his career with the Wisconsin Badgers and did not record any stats. He has picked up offers in the portal from Liberty, Kent State, Ball State, and Eastern Michigan. The 6’2″ linebacker is originally from Walled Lake Western High School and Wixom, Michigan where he was a consensus three-star recruit. Vaughan was named first team all-state as a senior as he made a school-record 136 tackles and recorded 27 TFLs his senior year. He also scored 10 total touchdowns – 4 rushing, 5 receiving, 1 kick return.
“Linebacker is one of the rooms where we just don’t have a lot of overall depth. We lost some players in the portal, young kids in the portal. Obviously, lost a lot last year that had some years. That’s been a challenge to try and navigate high school and bringing in enough guys that could play. We found some one year guys we feel confident about, but it’s been harder to find the 2-3 year guys, that’s a big emphasis.”
DB DOMINICK HILL
Hill entered the transfer portal after two seasons at Temple. The 6’0″, 188 pound Hill began his career at South Carolina before joining the Owls. Hill played sparingly in his first two years with the Gamecocks. He did not record any stats as he redshirted his freshman season. In year two, he played in four games and recorded six tackles before entering the portal. When he left Columbia, Hill found his new home in Philadelphia with Temple. He appeared in all 12 games during the 2022 season while he made 29 tackles and deflected five passes. In 2023, Hill finished with 49 tackles and four PBUs.
K/P COLIN KARHU
Karhu comes to Liberty from North Greenville, the same school that gave Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell his first chance as a head coach. In 3 years at North Greenville, Karhu made 32 of 41 field goals including 14 of 18 in 2023 with a long of 54. He also made all 25 of his extra points this past season. Additionally, Karhu had 18 of his 52 kickoffs go for a touchback during his career at North Greenville.
Karhu will certainly be expected to compete for the starting kicker position for the Flames this fall where he will compete with Nick Brown, primarily.
“You want to see our guys that we currently have, you want to see them improve,” Chadwell said of his specialists. “They are talented but there is some inconsistency. You bring in competition to push and allow guys to strive to be the best version of themselves. We brough in Colin Karhu, he was a really nice kicker at North Greenville University, did a nice job there, somebody that won some games for them, big kicks and some different things. Somebody that dreamed of having the opportunity to play at this level. He saw an opportunity here, we are excited about adding him to the mix. We’ve got some good returning weapons, but we were inconsistent. The thing we need to have is some consistency there.”
The Flames also announced the addition of several preferred walk-ons to the roster including K/P Sam Crossan (Red Lion Christian Academy), K/P Caleb Willis (Apex HS), and DL Weston Woodard (Liberty Christian Academy).
2024 Class Roster Breakdown:
Offensive linemen 5
Defensive linemen 5
Wide receivers 4
Defensive backs 4
Special Teams 3
Tight end 2
Running back 1
South Carolina 4
North Carolina 2
Washington, D.C. 1