Today, our position preview turns to the linebackers where the Flames’ base defense will operate with 2 LBs, but Liberty will utilize multiple personnel packages and we will likely see times there are 3 and 4 linebackers on the field.
If you missed yesterday’s preview of the corners, you can access that here.
14 Solomon Ajayi R-SR 6’1″ 235
Ajayi is a leader of the defense, having started all 12 games last year and leading the team with 76 tackles. The Flames will need more of the same from him in an otherwise very young and inexperienced room.
LB Coach Kyle Pope – “He’s a smart player, very hard working player. He went through a small injury in the spring, but he was able to bounce back and finish the spring strong. He’s a guy who has experience in our room. He’s one of two guys that has great experience in our room. He has set a path for himself here. Going through the spring until now, he’s continued to step into a leader role and continued to work hard each day. Not only that, but he’s making the guys around him better, that’s one big thing about him.”
9 Amarii Jenkins R-SO 6’0″ 210
Jenkins was a reserve last year, but the new coaching staff has been very high on him since the spring.
LB Coach Kyle Pope – “He’s a guy you’ve heard about, but you’re waiting to see. Once we stepped on the field, he’s going to give you effort. Every day he came in to practice ready to go. Every day he came in to the position room ready to learn, and he took it out on the field. You tell him something once, he’s going to get it right and make it happen. He’s stepped into a role this summer of continuing to be a leader. He’s taken on that challenge. We have guys that want to help others be better, and he’s one of those guys.”
47 Remington Green JR 6’0″ 220
Behind Ajayi, Green has the most experience at Liberty among the linebackers. He’s played in all 23 games of his career and has 44 tackles to his name.
35 Tyren Dupree R-FR 6’2″ 205
Dupree will be in the mix for reps after playing in just two games on special teams last year before redshirting.
LB Coach Kyle Pope – “A sleeper guy who didn’t go through the spring, he was injured and has came back this fall. He does a great job. A nice, big body who flies around and make plays.”
33 Waylen Cozad JR 6’2″ 215
Cozad is a JUCO transfer who was a late addition to the roster. He has been good during camp and is certain to play. He could push Jenkins for a starting spot.
LB Coach Kyle Pope – “He’s been pretty durn good (at the start of camp). You bring a JUCO guy, you want him to be ready to come in and help. Over the summer, he’s taken things in and he wants to learn. When he goes out on the field, he plays like his hair’s on fire. He’s running to the ball, he’s making plays.”
5 Malik Caper FR 6’1″ 215
The staff has been very high on the true freshman from Grapevine Faith Christian School in Dallas, Texas who is up to 235 pounds now. He’s very athletic and could see playing time as a true freshman.
LB Coach Kyle Pope – “First of all, he’s a good looking kid. You walk into that room you’re going to notice him. He brings not only size but identity. He’s a guy that played running back in high school, so he’s athletic. Not only that, he’s huge. He’s around 235 now, and he brings a physical presence, a downhill, physical presence. Our thing is fast and violent, and that’s what he wants to do. He definitely brings a different mentality into the room, size wise and mentality wise that you want to have him in your room.”
4 Aubrey Williams FR 6’2″ 200
Williams came in as a safety but was moved to the linebacker group during spring practice. He’s originally from Brunswick, Georgia. In the spring it looked like he was a definite to get playing time, but after all the additions to the group this summer he may get pushed towards a redshirt.
LB Coach Kyle Pope – “I always tell Aubrey, if you don’t know what to do, run to the ball. He’s that type of guy, just like Waylen, Aubrey’s got his hair on fire, he wants to run around, he wants to hit people, but at the end of the day he just wants to have fun. He scored over a 1200 on his SATs coming out of high school, so he’s a smart kid, as well. You have a guy that’s pretty durn smart, but also wants to run around and make plays as well. He’s been working hard from the spring and into the summer.”
12 Brandon Tillmon SR 6’0″ 210
Tillmon has been a starter virtually his entire career, beginning at safety and moving to linebacker prior to last season. Under the new staff, he’s had a difficult time pushing towards the top of the depth chart. It will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets this season.
32 Aaron Pierre R-SO 6’0″ 215
Pierre began his career as a defensive back but moved to the SPUR spot last year. He played in all 12 games during his redshirt-freshman campaign and will be fighting for a spot this season.