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 last week with the quarterbacks. Next week, we will move to the wide receivers, but today we look at the running backs.
Here’s our ranking, be sure to let us know where we messed up and who we left off:
5. Samkon Gado (2001-2004)
Liberty’s running back room from 2001-2004 is one of the greatest mysteries of the football program. It boasted Gado, Eugene Goodman, and Dre Barnes. All three have valid arguments to be included on this list. Because of that, Gado’s career stats as a Flame are not that impressive. He was typically the third man in the rotation, but he gets the nod for the 5th spot as he went on to excel in the NFL and leaves us all wondering if he should have gotten more reps as a Flame.
Gado played in parts of 5 NFL seasons, the second longest tenure of any Liberty running back. He broke onto the scene in 2005 with the Green Bay Packers and went on to play with the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, and St. Louis Rams. He finished his NFL career with 268 carries for 927 yards and 11 touchdowns.
4. D.J. Abnar (2012-2015)
Abnar had one of the best single seasons as a running back in program history in 2014. He was named to the Big South all-conference and VaSID all-state first teams for his performance. He helped lead the Flames to its only FCS Playoff appearance that season.
He finished his Liberty career with 2,059 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns, numbers that would have certainly been higher if he didn’t miss the final 5 games of his career due to an injury. Abnar also added 276 receiving yards and 694 kickoff return yards during his career.
3. Lawrence Worthington (1994-1996)
Worthington ranks in the top 5 of the Liberty record books in career rushing yards and touchdowns and single season rushing yards and touchdowns. His 35 career rushing touchdowns ranks 2nd only to Rashad Jennings. He led the team in rushing for three straight seasons under former head coach Sam Rutigliano.
2. Dre Barnes (2001-2004)
Barnes is the second of the three-headed monster from the early 2000s to make the list. He still owns the Liberty career record with 4,035 yards, and also holds two of the three single seasons in school history with at least 1,300 rushing yards in a season. He was the career leader in all-purpose yards until being surpassed by Frankie Hickson just a few months ago.
1. Rashad Jennings (2006-2008)
Jennings is the unquestioned best running back in school history. Playing in just three seasons, he ranks #3 in career rushing yards and #1 in career rushing touchdowns. His 1,500 rushing yards in 2008 are still the most in school history.
He then went on to succeed in the NFL, playing 7 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and New York Giants. Oh, and he’s also sprinkled in a Dancing with the Stars title and written numerous books. Jennings will have his jersey retired in September.