Liberty’s tight end position will look much different in 2023 than it did in 2022. Not only is their a new coaching staff with Cody Ladutko taking over as tight ends coach under head coach Jamey Chadwell, the Flames also brought in three new pieces in the room to help offset the losses of Jerome Jackson and Michael Bollinger.
Liberty brought in new pieces from the transfer portal, a junior college transfer, and a high school signee to add to a room that already includes Bentley Hanshaw and Austin Henderson.
“We needed a younger guy there, but also we do use quite a bit the two tight end sets,” Coach Chadwell said of the additions to his tight ends. “Like the guys that we inherited, they’ve played some football. They are pass catchers in some of those, so tried to bring in some true blockers and some of those things. Again, planning from a long term standpoint, who do we want to become offensively and what do we need there. Obviously we want to win big and and win right away but also set ourselves up to consistently compete for and win Conference USA championships.”
Hanshaw transferred to Liberty a year ago from BYU. He finished his first season in the program with 6 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown. He has the ability to stretch out wide and make an impact on the team in the receiving game. Henderson also transferred to Liberty last year, coming in from Minnesota. He finished the year with 5 catches for 50 yards and a score.
Jacob Jenkins has transferred to Liberty from Coastal Carolina. The 6’3″, 235 pound Jenkins has two seasons of eligibility remaining after being named third team All-Sun Belt at tight end for the Chanticleers in 2022. He caught 11 passes for 149 yards and 5 touchdowns this past season before entering the portal on Jan. 1.
Jenkins was tied for second on the team this past year with five receiving touchdowns, leading the tight end room. He transferred to Coastal Carolina from Jacksonville State where he appeared in 19 games during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. At Jacksonville State, Jenkins recorded 6 receptions for 53 yards. He is originally from Hoover, Alabama where he attended Spain Park High School.
Billy Durocher is a 6’4″, 220 pound tight end from Saddleback College who also joins the Flames this year This past season, Durocher played in 6 games and caught 9 passes for 65 yards with 2 touchdowns. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining. He has been offered by Texas State and several FCS programs. Durocher is originally from Illinois where he attended St. Charles North High School. He was an all-conference athlete in both football and track in high school before heading to Saddleback.
A three-star tight end from Nashville, Tennessee where he attends Christ Presbyterian Academy, Bo Burklow flipped from his original commitment to Coastal Carolina to sign with Liberty. The 6’3″ 235 pound tight end had offers from Coastal Carolina, Memphis, UCF, Middle Tennessee, Army, Arkansas State, Tulane, Appalachian State, and Charlotte.
The competition at tight end will be intense during the spring for the new coaching staff. Liberty has brought in several pieces that will have their say in who gets placed on the depth chart by the coaching staff as well as some talented returners that also offer plenty of upside.