With the conclusion of the 2019 football season, the Liberty football team saw the end of careers of some of the best players to ever wear the Liberty jersey.
That got us thinking, who are the best at each position to ever play at Liberty? We started with the quarterbacks, and have also discussed the running backs and the wide receivers. Today, we move to the defensive backs.
Here’s our ranking, be sure to let us know where we messed up and who we left off:
5. Kevin Fogg (2009-2013)
Arguably the best returner in school history, Kevin Fogg also made his mark as one of the program’s top cornerbacks as his career developed. By his senior season, Fogg and Aikens combined to make one of the best CB tandems in the country.
First breaking onto the scene as an explosive returner, Fogg received numerous national awards for his explosive ability his first couple of seasons at Liberty. By the end of his career, he became entrenched as a starter at corner opposite of Aikens.
After a short stay in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fogg has gone on to a standout career as one of the top defensive backs and returners in the CFL.
4. Walt Aikens (2011-2013)
Drafted in the 4th round of the NFL Draft in 2014, Aikens starred at Liberty after transferring from Illinois. He led the team with 62 tackles his senior season. A three-year starter, Aikens was named a Big South all-conference performer each season.
He even tried his hand at basketball for a season as he was a two-sport athlete briefly for the Flames. In addition to his 62 tackles as a senior, Aikens added 3 interceptions and 7 pass deflections. He finished his career with 7 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles.
Aikens’ NFL stock began to rise at the Senior Bowl and then at his pro day he had over 20 scouts show up as he went from being considered a fringe draft pick consideration in the late rounds to being projected as high as a 2nd round pick before the Miami Dolphins eventually selected him No. 125 overall.
3. Richard Shelton (1984-1988)
The final two years of Shelton’s career, he combined to have 100 tackles and finished his career with 11 interceptions and 26 breakups. In addition to being a standout at corner, he was also very dynamic as a returner. He still holds program records for career punt return yardage, punt returns for a touchdown and punt return average.
His 20 pass breakups in 1988 are tied for the 2nd most in a single season in school history and he has the third most career pass breakups. Following his senior season, he was named first-team all-state and was inducted into the Liberty Hall of Fame in 2017.
After competing at the NFL Combine, Shelton became the third player in program history to be selected in the NFL Draft when he was taken by the Denver Broncos in the 10th round in 1989. He had a five-year playing career with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers. Following his playing career, he has been a long-time NFL scout for the Tennessee Titans.
2. Jacob Hagen (2011-2014)
The beginning of Hagen’s career was overshadowed by the electric play of Kevin Fogg and Walt Aikens, but once they were out of the program and Hagen had matured, everyone began to notice how good of a player he actually was.
His senior campaign, in 2014, is arguably the most impressive single season any defensive back has ever had in a Liberty uniform. As a safety, he led the team with 108 tackles and 8 interceptions that year as he was named a first-team all-american and the defensive player of the year in Virginia.
As a junior, Hagen began to make a name for himself, as he was named third-team all-american and first-team all-state. He would go on to a brief NFL career as he was on the preseason rosters for the Rams and Steelers from 2015-2017.
1. Wayne Haddix (1983-1986)
Haddix came out of nowhere in the early 80s to become one of the best defensive players in school history. In addition to his ability as a cornerback, Haddix was also a standout returner. He led the Flames in punt returns in three of his four seasons in Lynchburg and still holds the program’s single game punt return record.
Haddix was the first Liberty player to receive an invitation to the Senior Bowl and just the second to participate in the Blue-Gray game. He was named first-team all-state during his senior season and elected to the Liberty Hall of Fame in 2014.
His career extended to the NFL where he is the first alumnus in program history to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl after he led the NFL with interceptions when playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.