The Flames are now halfway through their first year of FBS play. Coming into the season, predictions were all over the place as to how Liberty would fare in this new adventure. Most would say at this point that they lived up to or exceeded expectations. Now they have a chance to do some more damage in the second half of the season. Through 7 games, they’ve battled the likes of ODU, Troy, and New Mexico to come away victorious while North Texas, New Mexico State, and Army were too much for the Flames. The success of 2018 has come through a combination of aged veterans, solid JUCO transfers, and budding rookies all of which have highlighted our MVP features. Now at the mid-point of the season, it is time to recognize those whose sustained performance has played a vital role in Liberty’s 4-3 record and the success at this new level of football
MVP: QB BUCKSHOT CALVERT
In his junior year of play, QB Buckshot Calvert continues to serve as the firepower behind Liberty’s offense. On the season, Calvert has thrown for 2,256 yards, ranking him just below West Virginia QB and Heisman-hopeful Will Grier in total passing yards. He has thrown 16 touchdowns and averages 322 passing yards a game. During the first half of the season, the Florida native became the 3rd Liberty QB to throw 60 career TD passes. Buckshot now needs just two more to surpass former Liberty QB Josh Woodrum for 2nd all-time in passing TDs in Flames’ history. He also tallied 7,188 career passing yards, moving him into 4th all-time in Liberty history. It is clear Buckshot’s play lifts the offense to another level, earning him offensive MVP mid-way through the season.
MVP: DE Jessie Lemonier
In his first season as a Flame, JUCO transfer Jessie Lemonier has emerged as a defensive force for Liberty. With the move to the FBS ranks and a need to improve their defense from last year, the coaching staff made it a point to recruit capable transfers that would have an immediate impact for the Flames. Lemonier has done just that. Through 7 games, he has racked up 9.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 34 total tackles. Despite their defensive woes, Lemonier has been a highlight for the Flames and is a core piece to Wimberly’s defense.
MVP: P AARON PEART
Special Teams have been an anomaly for the Flames this season. Lead kicker Alex Probert was sidelined for the majority of the season due to a lower-body injury. He returned for the Idaho State game but did not attempt a field goal. P Aidan Alves’ performance through 7 games has been up and down with shanked punts and booming kicks. The kickoff and punt return game has been lackluster. And Liberty has attempted just 3 field goals on the season. With that being said, P/K Aaron Peart has been a consistent variable for the Flames throughout the first half of the season and gets the nod at mid-season MVP. With Probert’s injury, Peart has handled kickoff and field goal duties. He went 2/3 on FGs and 22/23 on PATs. Peart even took on punting during the Army game as Alves was ejected due to a targeting penalty. Peart has worn a number of hats this year and contributed in each one.