In previous signing classes, FBS teams were only permitted under NCAA rules to add a maximum of 25 scholarship athletes in a given signing class. With the advent of the transfer portals, coaches all over the country argued for that rule to go away, and the NCAA has done just that.

Beginning with the 2023 class, FBS teams can now exceed 25 scholarship additions in a single recruiting class, and Liberty took full advantage of that. With the completion of the February signing period, the Flames have added a total of 28 new scholarship players to the team’s roster under first year head coach Jamey Chadwell.

Of the additions, 14 are joining Liberty from the high school ranks while nine are from the transfer portal and five are junior college transfers. 17 of the 28 signees were able to enroll with the team in January and will go through spring practice.

“We were able to get that many in which has been big for us,” said Coach Chadwell of the mid-year enrollees. “They are obviously going through our off-season program now and also adding to the talent we already had here. We’ve got some good players in place. We lost some good players to graduation, obviously to other institutions, but I feel like we were able to get some Liberty people in here that fit our culture, what we’re about, that are able to go through spring and be able to fill.”

Never before has a Liberty football team had the level of roster makeover that this team has had. 28 of the 85 scholarship players will be new to the team, and that is a number that could grow when the transfer portal opens again in May. Chadwell says he is still keeping his eye on some more additions to help finalize the roster, specifically at offensive line, linebacker, and receiver.

On the offensive line, the Flames return several experienced players including RG Brendan Schlittler, T/G X’Zauvea Gadlin, G Jonathan Graham, and C John Kourtis. West Virginia transfer Jordan White will also add some depth and compete for a starting spot as will other returnees such as Harrison Hayes, Chase Mitchell, and Reggie Young. Liberty does have six super seniors on the offensive line and will be looking to help offset those losses for the 2024 team.

Losing Ahmad Walker and Mike Smith, Jr are big losses to overcome at linebacker. Liberty can lean on veterans Tyren Dupree and Aakil Washington while others such as Maurice Freeman, III, Jerome Holly, Jr., Jordan Norwood, and Kaci Seegars will also be fighting for playing time. Being able to add an experienced linebacker in the portal during May would help this position tremendously.

Shedro Louis is expected to transition from running back to wide receiver to help offset some losses in the receiver room. CJ Yarbrough, CJ Daniels, Treon Sibley, and Noah Frith also return. West Virginia transfer Reese Smith and Louisiana transfer Errol Rogers should also provide some depth, but there are not many underclassmen in this room. If a receiver transfer with several years of eligibility become available, that would be an ideal addition for the Flames.

“Linebacker, receiver, and ideally I’d probably take a couple OLinemen if I could get two if they have multiple years left to try to help there,” said Chadwell. “We will continue to still work on that. We will be in the market (when the portal opens back up) to try to continue to build our roster.”