Spring practice has begun for the Liberty Flames as the team begins preparation for the 2024 season. What better time than now to update our projected depth chart for the Flames’ football team for the 2024 season.
This is based on as the roster currently stands as we know it today. Of course, there will likely be more changes to the roster prior to the start of the season, likely both additions and subtractions as the team still must navigate through the spring transfer portal.
Quarterback: Kaidon Salter
Backup: Ryan Burger
Salter has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in the entire country this coming fall. Burger is a nice addition to the room, coming to Liberty from Appalachian State where he was the team’s starter entering the 2023 season before suffering an injury in the opener. He is a nice insurance piece and can serve as a backup to Salter and potentially compete for the starting spot once Salter moves on.
Running Back: (A-Back) Billy Lucas; (B-Back) Quinton Cooley
Backup: Vaughn Blue; Jaimes Jointer, Jr
Everybody returns from the nation’s leading rushing offense in 2023. Talk about depth. Add to these four Victor Venn and true freshman Caden Williams. Sheesh.
Wide Receiver (X): Donte Lee
Backup: Markel Fortenberry OR Errol Rogers
Wide Receiver (Z): Treon Sibley
Backup: Kylen Austin
Wide Receiver (H): Reese Smith
Backup: Tyson Mobley
The hope is Donte Lee can step in and become the team’s X receiver this fall. The return of Victor Jones and Reese Smith from injury would certainly help, as well. We also must keep our eyes on Kylen Austin and Markel Fortenberry in their continuing emergence.
Left Tackle: Chase Mitchell
Backup: Jack Tucker
Left Guard: Jordan White
Backup: Brian Hannibal
Center: Aaron Fenimore
Backup: Andrew Johnson
Right Guard: John Paul Flores
Backup: Harrison Hayes
Right Tackle: Xavior Gray
Backup: Austin Anderson
Everyone returns at tackle, and the Flames should be really good there with plenty of depth. Jordan White is likely to slide over to one of the vacated guard positions while Aaron Fenimore moves up to the first team at center. John Paul Flores will certainly have an opportunity to stake his claim as a starter at guard, as well.
Tight End: Bentley Hanshaw OR Austin Henderson
Back up: Jacob Jenkins OR Bo Burklow
The Flames welcome Coastal Carolina transfer Jacob Jenkins who had his waiver denied and had to sit out the 2023 season after his second transfer. The depth is very evident here with him as well as the returners Hanshaw and Henderson.
Defensive End: TJ Bush
Backup: Grey Carroll OR Larry Jones, III
Defensive Tackle: Chris Boti
Backup: Jay Hardy
Nose Guard: Bryce Dixon
Backup: Eli Hall
Joker: CJ Bazile
Backup: Bryson Jennings OR Alvin Williams
The two outside positions are pretty stable from the 2023 season. The interior of the line is much more a work in progress. Chris Boti, Bryce Dixon, and Jay Hardy all return and will help anchor that group. Wake Forest transfer Eli Hall and JUCO transfer Rod Daniels could also factor in here, as could redshirt-freshman Eliyt Nairne.
Mike: Teylor Jackson
Backup: Joseph Carter OR Aidan Vaughn
Will: Jerome Jolly, Jr.
Backup: Jahmar Brown
This is a room that has been a huge focus of the recruiting staff throughout the Class of 2024, including through the portal. The addition of Jackson will provide tremendous depth and experience while Jolly and Carter return to provide some continuity. Vaughan is a piece that can be used for development with his best years likely ahead of him, but he is also someone who can fight for playing time immediately. This group has the potential to have more depth than we have seen in a while at linebacker for the Flames.
Cornerback: Dexter Ricks, Jr. OR Dominick Hill
Backup: Joshua Wiggins OR Elijah Hopkins
Cornerback: Amarian Williams
Backup: Marquis Bell
These names are all returners for Liberty at corner with the only loss being Kobe Singleton (and Preston Hodge who also played safety) who transferred to Oregon State. Dominick Hill does join the team from Temple and could factor into the rotation here, also.
Star: Quinton Reese
Backup: A’Khori Jones
Safety: Brylan Green
Backup: Christian Bodnar
Safety: Eldric Griffin
Backup: Jayden Sweeney
There has been a decent amount of turnover at the safety position, one of the few units on the team that has seen significant change to this point. Quinton Reese returns for one more season and provides plenty of leadership and experience while Brylan Green is now an upperclassman and leader. A’Khori Jones has been a good depth piece his first two years on the team, and he has the potential to have a much larger impact and potentially even a starter. Eldric Griffin is a JUCO transfer who could be an immediate impact performer.
Kicker: Nick Brown
Backup: Brayden Beck OR Colin Karhu
Karhu is a PWO transfer from North Greenville that will at least add some additional competition. He made 14 of 18 field goals with a long of 54 and was a perfect 25 of 25 on PATs last season. Will he be able to push Nick Brown for the team’s starting kicker spot?
Punter: Max Morgan
Long Snapper: Austin Turner
Holder: Max Morgan
Kick Returner: Donte Lee
Punt Returner: Brylan Green