Today, we continue our position previews with a look at the quarterbacks. Be sure to check out our previous position previews if you have missed any:
On Monday, Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze announced that Charlie Brewer had won the starting job at quarterback for the Flames this season. Throughout the off-season, there were four quarterbacks competing for the honor to replace Malik Willis after he was taken in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.
16 Charlie Brewer R-SR 6’1″ 210
Brewer comes to Liberty as a sixth-year senior, having transferred to Lynchburg prior to the spring semester. That gave him the opportunity to learn the playbook and be prepared to compete for the starting position, which he won in training camp. With the experience of starting at Baylor and Utah and throwing for over 10,000 career passing yards, Brewer is clearly the most experienced quarterback in the room for the Flames. Now, he gets the opportunity to lead the charge for Liberty entering the 2022 season.
Quarterbacks Coach Kent Austin – “If you look at the composite picture of camp and look at it holistically, everything that we are doing in our offense, we believe that Charlie earned the position. If you couple that with his growth, the strides that Charlie made from spring to the beginning of camp to the end of camp, he was on a constant upward trajectory with his performance, his decision making, his accuracy, protecting the ball this camp, which he struggled with some in spring. That got eliminated out of his game, I think those things combined are why the decision was made.”
11 Johnathan Bennett R-JR 6’0″ 220
It’s hard to believe but Bennett is entering his fourth season with the Flames. As Brewer is the most experienced in the room, Bennett is the longest-tenured quarterback at Liberty. He served as Malik Willis’ backup last year, playing in nine games while completing 15 of 33 passes for 299 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He provides a capable backup should Freeze and Liberty need one this season.
Quarterbacks Coach Kent Austin – “He understands our offense. He makes great decisions. He’s got strong relationships with the players because he’s been here and been with some of these guys a long time. We trust Johnathan a lot.”
18 Kaidon Salter R-FR 6’1″ 190
Salter is the highest rated quarterback out of high school to play at Liberty. After transferring from Tennessee prior to last season, Salter redshirted and played sparingly. He finished the year with 5 carries for 53 yards while completing 1 of 2 passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. He provides a different element that Brewer and Bennett with his ability to make plays with his legs, similar to Malik Willis. There is a possibility that the Flames find a way to keep Salter involved in game planning each week with a specific package.
Quarterbacks Coach Kent Austin – “He’s progressed a lot (since last year). He still needs to get his decision-making up to a level that is commensurate with the level that he is playing at and that can help our offense get the ball in the end zone with the least amount of mistakes. He is getting there. Like all young quarterbacks, it’s a work in progress. It was with JB as well when he first got here, but (Salter’s) doing well.”
10 Nate Hampton R-FR 6’6″ 235
Hampton was also a highly rated recruit that signed with Liberty out of high school. He played in one game last year during his true freshman season, finishing with 4 rushes for 30 yards and completing one of four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterbacks Coach Kent Austin – “I’m a big fan of Nate’s. I think Nate’s skill-set is different than our other guys. He has gotten his body in better shape. He’s leaner. He’s quicker. You can see that on the field. He can pull the ball down quicker. He can get out of trouble and extend plays more with his feet than he was able to do before. He does have the big frame. He’s like a young quarterback, we just need to continue to bring him along.”