With spring practice getting underway, there are always some positions that will get more attention than others. The same can be said for Liberty football this spring. Here are a few positions that Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell will be keeping a close eye on throughout February.
“There are some battles that I’m really paying attention to because that’s where your biggest development needs to happen,” Chadwell explained. “We need those guys to really step up. If they do, then maybe you don’t have to go shopping (in the portal) in May. If it doesn’t happen, then you are looking at some other opportunities there.”
The Flames are set at quarterback with Kaidon Salter, but behind him there are some question marks. Johnathan Bennett, last year’s second string guy, has transferred out and the Flames have brought in a couple new names in Ryan Burger and Jayden Bradford. These two will push hard for the backup quarterback spot. It will also be interesting to see how the true freshman Bradford looks in his first crack at college ball. He is the highest rated quarterback to sign with the Flames out of high school.
“I’m anxious to see the young quarterbacks that we have,” said Chadwell. “We’ve got two already in Nate (Hampton) and Kaidon (Salter), but I’m anxious to see the two young ones and see how they are.”
With the loss of CJ Daniels through the portal and Noah Frith who exhausted his eligibility, there is some room for newcomers to step in and make an impact at receiver.
Treon Sibley, Kylen Austin, and Markel Fortenberry lead a talented group of returners while Reese Smith and Victor Jones should return from an injury later in 2024. The Flames will also welcome transfers Donte Lee and Tyson Mobley who will be looking to make an immediate impact.
“Receiver’s a big question mark,” Chadwell said. “We’ve got some young talent there now. Are they willing to step up?”
Jerome Jolly and Joe Carter are the primary returners for the Flames at linebacker. After that, there’s a lot of question marks. Obviously incoming transfers Teylor Jackson and Jahmar Brown are expected to be serious contenders for playing time this season. We could also see Aidan Vaughn or Kaidon Whidby emerge, as well.
“We’ve got to see what happens from the linebacker stand point,” Chadwell said. “These guys coming in, where do they fit?”
Liberty lost Kobe Singleton and Preston Hodge from its room at corner and will be looking to find new names to emerge. Amarian Williams is a returning starter that should be penciled in at spot, but other than him there are some question marks.
A few names return such as Elijah Hopkins, Marquis Bell, and Dexter Ricks. Does incoming transfer Dominick Hill settle at corner and can he emerge as a potential starter?
“The battle to me is corner,” said Chadwell. “We lost two corners that were starters to other institutions. The guys are are here currently and the guys that have sort of been waiting in the wings, now is there chance to take off.”