Liberty begins spring practice on Thursday, March 9 under new head football coach Jamey Chadwell. The Flames will begin preparing under a new coaching staff for the 2023 season as the program moves to Conference USA.

As we prepare for spring ball to begin, we will do a Liberty roster review of each position on the team. We begin today with a look at the most important position on the team, the quarterbacks.

If there was one thing that defined Liberty football in 2022, it was the revolving door at quarterback. The Flames had three different quarterbacks start a game during the season and could never find any consistency in the room.

The season started with transfer Charlie Brewer being named the starter, but just two series into the season opener he was lost with a broken thumb. Johnathan Bennett was the backup but struggled in relief and Liberty turned to redshirt-freshman Kaidon Salter. The cycle continued throughout the year.

Now, Hugh Freeze and his staff are gone, as is Brewer who has exhausted his eligibility, and in comes new Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell. Co-offensive coordinator Willy Korn will also be the new quarterbacks coach.

After solidifying the commitment of high school senior Reese Mooney, Chadwell, Korn, and staff turned their attention to the transfer portal to increase the level of competition in the quarterback room. Their efforts would result in Liberty adding Southern Miss transfer Trey Lowe.

“Competition,” Chadwell said of what he is looking for with the addition of Lowe. “We played a lot of quarterbacks last year. When you play a lot of quarterbacks sometimes that tells me that you don’t know who the guy is. For us, I wanted as much competition as possible in that room.”

Lowe, who began his career at West Virginia, transferred to Southern Miss prior to the 2020 season. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining. The 6’2″, 235 pound native of Collierville, Tennessee, led the Golden Eagles to their first bowl game victory since 2016 in the 2022 Lending Tree Bowl.

He threw for 209 yards on 13 of 19 passes with 2 touchdowns and an interception in the 2020 season finale. He also rushed for 104 yards on 44 carries in that contest, setting himself up as Southern Miss’ top quarterback going into the 2021 season. He would start the first two games  of 2021 before getting hurt and being sidelined for the rest of the season.

He appeared in the 2022 season opener this past year against Liberty, throwing for an interception. He would then be sidelined until late in the year, making the start against Coastal Carolina. With now Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell on the sidelines, Lowe was 19 of 37 for 295 yards and a touchdown against the Chanticleers.

Then in the 2022 regular season finale, Lowe completed 10 of 16 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown while also rushing 5 times for 6 yards as well against Louisiana-Monroe. In the 2022 LendingTree Bowl, Lowe led Southern Miss to the win over Rice as he completed 7 of 16 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing 6 times for 7 yards.

“I think anytime that you can bring in somebody that has played and has a chance to be a good player and somebody that has been through the ringer a little bit and that brings some competition, that helps the quarterbacks raise up their game and be consistent every day.”

Bennett is the veteran in the room, having appeared in 12 games last year, and has been in the program the longest. He completed 58.5% of his 224 passes last season for 1,534 yards, 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also rushed 76 times for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of the advantages Bennett had a year ago, was having been int he offense much longer than any other quarterback on the team. Now, that advantage is stripped away due to a new coaching staff and system. Still, he has been around the program for a long time and is looked up to as a leader of the team.

Meanwhile, Salter saw playing time in 8 games, missing several due to injury. He completed 87 of 149 passes for 1,088 yards, 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He also rushed 69 times for 285 yards and 2 additional scores. The former four-star recruit obviously has some talent and likely has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the Liberty room. At times, Salter struggled with protecting the football and with decision making.

Nate Hampton was the fourth string quarterback for the Flames last year, and he even saw playing time in 5 games. In his limited action, Hampton completed 3 of 8 passes for 76 yards with 13 rushes for 19 yards. He showed some flashes of potential, but was primarily used in specific running packages during the 2022 season.

Mooney also comes in as a highly rated quarterback out of Louisiana. The three-star prospect also intends to play baseball during his time at Liberty. The coaching staff will likely want to redshirt Mooney to give him the opportunity to adjust to the college game and learn the offense.

The quarterbacks will certainly have Coach Chadwell’s attention during the spring as he begins to look for a potential answer at the most important position on the field entering the 2023 season.