Another edition of the ASOR Mailbag! Thank you for submitting your questions and continue to send them in and we will be happy to answer them in our next feature. You can send them to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or as a comment on the site. We had a ton of great questions this week, so let’s get right to it.

Both have had very solid regular seasons to this point and have put themselves in the position to make some noise in the postseason. Entering the final series of the regular season, softball has an RPI of 29. They should be safe in regards to the NCAA Tournament, though with a currently unblemished conference record, the Lady Flames certainly want to take care of business and earn the auto bid. One cause for concern when looking ahead to Regionals is Liberty is just 2-10 against Top 25 teams this season. In order to advance out of the Regionals, the Lady Flames will certainly have to beat a top 25 team. They can do it and have done it in the past, it just has been infrequent.

Likewise, baseball has had some high moments in 2022 and could receive an at-large should they fall in the ASUN Tournament. The Flames have shown their ability to knock off some of the top teams in the country at times this season. The key for the Flames will be their matchup in the Regional should they advance to one. Hopefully, Liberty gets matched up with one of the lower rated 1-seeds in the NCAA Tournament and not stuck with a top 5 team once again. Regardless, this team has the talent and pitching depth to win a Regional for the first time in school history.

It has certainly been one of the bigger disappointments of the season. Coming off his injury suffered toward the end of last year, Gibson just hasn’t been able to get back to 100% to this point. He was named Preseason ASUN Pitcher of the Year and getting moved to the mid-week games is not what you would expect out of someone with his talent. Still, he does give the Flames someone with incredible talent and potential against those high profile ACC games, and moving into the postseason, having someone like Gibson could prove pivotal.

We released our projected depth chart following spring practice a few weeks ago, so refer back to that, but I will answer your question here. Unless a new corner transfers in prior to the season, which is a possibility, the likely starters on day one will be Chris Megginson and Daijahn Anthony. Kobe Singleton and Amarian Williams can provide depth. At running back, it really doesn’t matter who starts for the Flames. For the past few seasons, Liberty has utilized three running backs pretty evenly. I expect that to be the case once again this year with TJ Green, Shedro Louis, and Dae Dae Hunter all getting their fair share to carry the load.

Do you want me to make a prediction or just report where things currently stand in the quarterback race? I’ll look at it both ways. Currently, it’s a pretty dead heat between the four quarterbacks in the competition – Johnathan Bennett, Charlie Brewer, Kaidon Salter, and Nate Hampton. Coach Freeze has not tipped his hand any way and has said the competition is incredibly close and doesn’t expect a starter to be named until just prior to the start of the season and could possibly even go into the early part of the 2022 season.

As for my prediction, I think it will come down to Brewer and Salter. I’m currently leaning toward Brewer getting the start for week 1 with Salter being provided a package to get his feet wet. Then, depending on how the two perform, it will determine who ends up the starter for the duration of the season.

One thing is for certain for Liberty Athletics, the Flames have always offered their student-athletes as much as legally allowed. Whether it’s in scholarships, cost of attendance, or anything similar, Liberty is always setting the standard in their conference and among their peers. This won’t be any different in college baseball if scholarship numbers are increased. The Flames will find away to maximize their offerings.

The proposed rule that you’re mentioning for football is to the current 25 maximum number of incoming scholarship players in a given signing class. That is something that Coach Freeze has been advocating for abolishment of in recent months since the transfer portal has blown up. It would allow Liberty to sign more than 25 scholarship players in a given recruiting class while keeping their total number of scholarships to the maximum of 85. This can help when players elect to transfer out of your program, particularly after spring ball.

There’s a lot to unpack with this question! We touched on some of it in the previous question, particularly regarding the transfer portal and scholarship limits. Though, the proposal currently being mentioned is not for a “lifting of scholarship limits” it is just a temporary lift of the 25 member class for football.

As for the NIL, that will fall on alumni and supporters of the school as it is not something the University or Athletic Department can provide funding for. The alumni base will have to step up and provide funding to help Liberty compete in this arena, especially if we start talking about moving to the P5.

There’s a lot of room for growth for Liberty to be wanted as a P5. The institutional support, facilities, and talent level is good enough now to compete. The biggest roadblocks right now is in fan and alumni support. Flames Club membership and season ticket levels are a long ways off from being P5 level. The same can be said of the amount of NIL funding available. This is where growth needs to happen for Liberty to even begin to sniff P5 level.