Liberty will retire Rashad Jennings’ No. 23 jersey on Saturday during the Middle Tennessee game. His jersey was originally scheduled to be retired during the 2020 season on Sept. when the Flames faced FIU at Williams Stadium. That ceremony was postponed amid the COVID pandemic.

The former All-American and NFL running back will become the 5th individual to have his jersey retired, joining Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sam Rutigliano, Eric Green, and Kelvin Edwards.

Jennings was a consensus first-team All-American during his senior year when he rushed for 1,526 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008, while also earning his second Big South Offensive Player of the Year award and finishing 8th in voting for the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the top FCS player in the country. He became the 6th player in program history to be selected in the NFL Draft when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Jennings had a 7-year NFL career playing for the Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and New York Giants. He finished his career with 3,772 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was selected to the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.


Liberty cornerback Marcus Haskins has entered the transfer portal this week. Mid-year transfers always come as a surprise. Haskins played in all 11 games and started 9 in 2020 after transferring to Liberty from Iowa Western College where he recorded 31 tackles, 7 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 1 tackle for loss and 1 fumble recovery. He’s played in four of the five games this season recording one tackle.

He began the 2021 season fighting with Chris Megginson and Duron Lowe for a starting corner spot. As the season has progressed, Haskins fell to fourth on the depth chart at corner behind Megginson, Lowe and Daijahn Anthony. The Flames have frequently rotated just the three corners during games in recent weeks. In Haskins’ absence, look for true freshman Amarian Williams or Jimmy Faulks to slide up to the fourth corner spot.

Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Haskins began his collegiate career at Division II Concordia University in St. Paul where he earned all-American honors in 2018 and was named the NSIC Defensive Newcomer of the Year as he led Division II with 2.9 passes defended per game. He led his conference and was 2nd in all of DII with 9 interceptions. Haskins redshirted in 2017.

Playing in only four games this season, Haskins can utilize this season as a redshirt year and he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.


It’s been pretty simple to figure out if Liberty will win the game or not since Hugh Freeze has been the head coach. You only have to look at one stat – team rushing yards. If the Flames are leading in that category, it will end up being a Liberty win. If not, the Flames are likely to lose.

Since Freeze took over as Liberty’s head coach, the Flames are 18-0 when out-rushing its opponent. 18-0! That includes a 4-0 mark this season. When the inverse is true, and Liberty is out-rushed by the opponent, the Flames are just 4-7 under Freeze and 0-1 this season.

So far this season, Liberty is averaging 191 rushing yards per game while the MTSU Blue Raiders have been held to just 99 rushing yards each contest.


After making a change at kicker last week, with Brayden Beck taking over the field goal duties for Alex Barbir, the Flames were still not to the level Coach Freeze is hoping for. Beck made his first career field goal attempt, a 21 yarder and he made three of the four extra points he attempted. The Flames had one extra point blocked and another one the kick was never attempted as Max Morgan mishandled the snap. Those two errors cost Liberty two points and gave two points to UAB as they returned the blocked kick back to the end zone, a four point total swing. Ultimately, it didn’t cost the team in that game, but it played a huge factor in the loss at Syracuse and could have an impact in games later this season.

“We’ve got work to do,” Freeze said of the field goal unit. “We’ve got to go to work and get that team better, it’s going to cost us.”

“The next to last one, the snap was iffy but should have been handled,” Freeze said of the errors against UAB. “We’ve got a new holder with Aiden (Alves) being out. I think it could have been handled. The last one, the kick’s head-high. It’s really, really low. There was a little leakage but nothing that should have blocked a kick that has the correct trajectory. We’ve got to continue to work and keep challenging those kids to get better.”


Liberty has lacked for experience and depth at linebacker since the new coaching staff came in under Hugh Freeze and defensive coordinator Scott Symons. Last year, the Flames relied almost exclusively on Charlotte transfer Anthony Butler and Aaron Pierre. This year, the team has much more depth at the position, but Prairie View A&M transfer Storey Jackson has quickly emerged as one of the top players on the team.

Jackson has played in all five games, while making four starts. He leads the team with 38 tackles, with the next closest player checking in at 24 tackles. Jackson is also tied with Ralfs Rusins for the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss, to go along with his 2.5 sacks and one interception. After playing a spring FCS season, he didn’t join Liberty until this summer, and his upside is very high as he continues to adjust to his new team.

“We’re so glad we have him,” Coach Freeze said of Jackson this week. “He’s so athletic and physical and brings a different type player to us than we’ve had the first two years. He’s just really dynamic and physical. Last week he prepared better and it showed on the game. While he flashed at times against Syracuse, he also was out of position about 12 times that cost us. All of this transitioning into this new system, I think he’s only going to get better and better and better. He played really solid, but he prepared better last week and came in on his own and really watched how he’s supposed to fit runs. I think he’s only going to get better and better as we move forward.”


An updated look at Liberty’s injury report this week ahead of the MTSU game:

  • Punter Aidan Alves, WR Khaleb Coleman, and C John Kourtis continue to be back with no specific timetable for their return. Coleman is the closest to being ready as he has returned to practice in a limited capacity.
  • Wide receiver Jaivian Lofton has not returned to the lineup since injuring his knee in the season opener against Campbell at which time he was listed as week to week. Lofton is still “struggling to get back,” according to Freeze.
  • Wide receiver DJ Stubbs returned in a limited capacity against UAB last week.
  • Defensive linemen Henry Chibueze and Khristian Zachary missed last week’s game, but there is a possibility they could return to action this week against MTSU. Defensive tackle Kendy Charles got injured in the first quarter of the UAB game, and he is not expected to play this week. On Monday, Freeze said that Charles is “a long way away from being ready to play.” On Thursday, Freeze said he thinks Chibueze will be back but the other defensive linemen are not expected to return to the lineup this weekend.
  • Linebacker Rashaad Harding’s status is also questionable this week.

On Stubbs, Freeze said, “I think he’s close to being really back. He was good enough to play last week. We didn’t have to use him a lot. He went through every day of practice this week. He’s definitely ready to play. Is he 100%? I don’t know, but he’s definitely good enough to play.”