As Josh Aldridge got promoted this off-season to co-Defensive Coordinator and linebackers coach, the Flames have bought in Jeremy Garrett to coach the defensive line. Garrett will inherit an incredibly talented and deep unit that has become the strength of the team.

Liberty is not only talented and deep at defensive end, as they have been the past couple of seasons, Aldridge and the rest of the coaching staff have also built a talented and deep interior of the line. While the group is young in places, there is enough talent and a decent level of playing experience that this group should continue to make strides forward.

As the Flames prepare to kick off another spring camp on March 4, here is a look at the defensive line:



Durrell Johnson (Sr), TreShaun Clark (Jr), Henry Chibueze (R-Jr), Kendy Charles (R-So), Aakil Washington (R-So), Stephen Sings V (R-So), Chris Boti (So), Khristian Zachary (So), Jay Hardy (R-Fr), Kaci Seegars (R-Fr), Rashad Whitehead (R-So), Marquise Brunson (R-Fr), Karsen Perkins (R-So), Jackson Shirer (R-Fr), Ike Okoye (R-So), Jonathan Slaughter (R-Fr)

The Buzz: Durrell Johnson and TreShaun Clark headline the group of returners, having combined for 16 TFLs and 3.5 sacks last season. They have learned to adjust to being at the top of opposing team’s scouting reports, and continue to provide leadership and production at defensive end. Johnson battled through some injuries in 2021, but he is looking to make a splash this upcoming year and get back on the radar of NFL scouts.

Behind them, Aakil Washington and Stephen Sings have grown into very strong players for the Flames on the outside. They allow the coaching staff to rotate freely at defensive end and keep them fresh. These two combined for 8.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks in 2021.

On the interior, Henry Chibueze, Kendy Charles, and Chris Boti have the most experience of the returners. A couple of the youngsters, including Auburn transfer Jay Hardy, will also push for playing time this fall.

Khristian Zachary, one of the highest rated recruits in school history, fought through injuries during much of his true freshman campaign, but he showed flashes of his potential. Zachary could be utilized at pretty much any position on the line as he provides for great flexibility.


Dre Butler (Jr), Bryce Dixon (Fr), Claudel Bazile (Fr), Miyon Conaway (Fr)

Dre Butler joins the Flames from Auburn and has the potential to be a game-changer on the defensive line. The 6’5″, 298 pound lineman is originally from Covington, Georgia. After developing into a four-star prospect and the No. 4 JUCO player in the country for the 2020 recruiting cycle, he spent the past two seasons at Auburn where he played in nine games with 14 tackles, 2 TFLs, and a sack.


Ralfs Rusins (35 tackles, 6 TFLs, 3 sacks)

Elijah James (45 tackles, 5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 PBUs)

Jayod Sanders (8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack)

William Green

Micaiah Overton