Recently, the NCAA has ruled that they will temporarily expand college football signing class limits. A one-year waiver will immediately expand the 25-man football signing limit and allow coaches to replace up to seven players who leave as transfers. This would bring the max signing number to as many as 32 with the original 25 man limit plus the additional seven.

“I think it’s absolutely one of the smarter things that those committees have done,” Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze said. “I think in this world of the transfer portal, there’s no way that in one breath you can say we are all about the kid’s safety and health and all of that, but then ask a team because of the transfer portal to play below the scholarship limit. I hope they will continue to look into everything that needs to be adjusted. I think we as coaches would prefer you just say look you get to be at your 85 by August of the fall, I don’t quite understand why you don’t get to count transfers that happen during the season, that enter the portal, my understanding is it has to be on or after the early signing period which I’m not quite sure why that is. It’s definitely a good thing that we’re going to have the opportunity to replace some of those transfers.”


Entering the 2021 season, one of the main story lines around the Liberty football team was all the returning starters the Flames had coming back. Not just on offense and defense, but also on special teams Liberty returned nearly every starter. Alex Barbir and Aidan Alves returned as the team’s starting kicker and punter, respectively. Yet, at the midpoint of the season, it is two true freshmen leading the charge as kicker and punter for separate reasons.

Barbir struggled to make just one of four field goals to begin the year, Hugh Freeze handed the reigns over to Brayden Beck prior to the UAB game. Since then, Beck has now made both of his field goal attempts, including one from 37 yards this past weekend against MTSU. He’s also made 7 of his 8 PATs.

Meanwhile, Max Morgan took over for Alves after the Liberty punter broke his clavicle. Morgan has since become a very strong weapon for the Flames in the punting game, as his 13 punts have averaged 46.7 yards per punt.

“That is positive for us in the future,” Freeze said of his young true freshmen walk-on specialists. “I believe I remember, it may have been our first fall camp practice or somewhere early in fall camp, me feeling excited about those young kickers, including Nick (Brown) in it, also. I felt he performed well in it, also. To see them now carry that over into game two when they have been called on is real exciting for the future and positive.”


Liberty quarterback Malik Willis had his first interceptions of the season last week against Middle Tennessee, and Coach Freeze says he expects the talented signal caller to bounce back without issue.

“No one owns the integrity of the film any better than Malik Willis,” Freeze said. “He came in my office afterwards. We were talking about several things, but he said, ‘it sure feels better to be sitting here Monday after a three turnover game than like NC State last year where you lose by a point and have turnovers.’ That’s what I told him, it’s over, let’s build on it. You know exactly why. You were supposed to read inside out on that first one and you didn’t. The second one, maybe the wind affected it some, it was an underthrown ball, and the guy made a really good play on it. The third one is on me, I shouldn’t have asked you to even have to read that play. He will be fine. He will move on. You just got to get those corrected and read through your progression on the one, but that was the issue.”


Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze did not reveal much this week in regards to the injury report. What we do know is safety Quinton Reese is out for an extended period of time, likely for the rest of the season after he suffered a torn bicep in last week’s game against Middle Tennessee. Reese was second string behind Cedric Stone at one of the safety positions. In his absence, look for Javon Scruggs to get increased playing time as he is being cross trained to play both safety positions. This also means Scruggs’ backup Rocket Rahimi will receive increased reps. Jaylon Jimmerson and Ben Alexander are the next ones up as additional depth pieces.

On Thursday, Liberty defensive end Durrell Johnson posted on his Instagram account a picture showing his right knee in a wrap with the caption stating “Appreciate everybody prayers and support.” According to sources, Johnson has suffered a meniscus injury, and we have heard that the team is hopeful Johnson can return in a few weeks and hopefully in time for the Ole Miss game on Nov. 6.

There are others that are questionable, at best, to play Saturday against ULM including wide receiver Demario Douglas and offensive linemen Jonathan Graham and Cooper McCaw.

“We will be shorthanded, I’m sure,” Freeze said on Thursday when asked about injuries. “I’m not exactly sure who yet. Everyone is trying to rehab and get back. The chances of everybody being prepared enough to be able to go are probably slim. I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet. We will definitely be shorthanded some.”