Liberty’s base package will operate with three safeties on the field as the ROVER position is basically a safety as well.
ROVER 1 Javon Scruggs SO 5’11” 175
Scruggs hails from local Appomattox High School where he helped lead his team to four straight appearances in the state championship game. He played in all 12 games as a true freshman last season at cornerback, switching to safety and adding 15 pounds to his frame over the summer. He’s been rotating between ROVER and free safety during camp.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons – “Just a competitor. He’s got IT. When it comes to a guy that loves football, and I mean loves it. A lot of fun to coach just because of his personality and demeanor. I expect him to be a really good player for us for a long time to come. He’s not a typical corner that you moved to safety that is afraid to hit, he wants to tackle, loves it.”
S 13 Isaac Steele R-JR 6’0″ 180
Steele transferred into Liberty a year ago after one season at Mesa Community College and made an immediate pact, starting 11 games. He finished third on the team with 65 tackles and tied for the team lead with 3 interceptions. He’s expected to be a leader not just of the secondary but of the entire defense.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons – “He really had a pretty average spring, and he’s a guy that’s come on this fall and improved tremendously. I’m really pleased with where he’s at. I called him out in the spring as a guy who played a lot of snaps that i wanted to see more out of and expected more out of, and really the last couple of days I think hes started to come on. I’m proud of his growth. I’m proud of how he’s taking coaching and criticism. I think he’s improved his game tremendously, and he will be a key player in our secondary.”
S 31 Elijah Benton R-SR 6’1″ 205
Benton joined the program as a walk-on prior to the 2016 season and continues to be a factor in the secondary. He’s started 15 games now in his career and led the team in tackles with 76 last season.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons – “Elijah is a really heady football player. Just his IQ in general, extremely smart young man, probably one of, if not, the smartest football players I’ve ever coached. He’s a guy that can absorb multiple positions and learn multiple things.”
43 Benjamin Alexander R-JR 6’1″ 185
Alexander is another safety who joined the program as a walk-on and has made an impact most of his career. He played in 10 games in 2017 and all 12 games last season, primarily on special teams. He opened camp working with the 2nd string.
19 Chris Megginson FR 6’0″ 180
Megginson is a true freshman from Heritage High School right down the road in Lynchburg. He has really impressed the coaching staff with his skills during camp and he will factor into the depth at safety this season.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons – “Chris has gotten a lot of reps as we’ve gotten through camp, very athletic.”
6 Ceneca Espinoza, Jr R-JR 6’1″ 215
Espinoza redshirted in 2016, then saw significant playing time the last two years and pushed for starting time. He’s still in the mix for playing time in the secondary and will also be an impact player on special teams.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons (on both Rion Davis and Espinoza) – “Both of them are talented. Ceneca has pretty much focused on one position. Rion is another guy that has learned multiple spots. I think both have become more consistent, both of them can run, both of them are physical which are key characteristics for us. Both of them are going to have to provide us key depth on special teams too. That’s one thing in our room I talk about a lot. I want all the guys I coach on special teams. I want defensive players on it. Some coordinators don’t (want to) put (their) best players on special teams. I don’t think we have that luxury here. We need to play the best guys we have on all of our teams, and those will be two guys that will be critical in that role.”
10 Hunter Goetz R-FR 6’1″ 165
Goetz redshirted after playing in the final three games of the season last year at corner. Following the spring, he made the switch to safety.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons – “Hunter was a safety the majority of his (High School) career. Hunter’s a great story. We can use him as an example of guys that have really bought into this program. Hunter gained 22 or 23 pounds through the course of when Dom started working with him until right now which is a pretty big number, he was 165 pounds in the spring. To consider him as a safety at that point, we would have loved to, but he worked his tail off and had a great offseason. He’s a guy that put himself in a position to make a move to help this team.”
21 Marcellous Harris R-FR 5’11” 190
Harris saw playing time against UMass and Auburn last season before redshirting. He opened camp working with the 2nd string but was with the 3rd string during the open portion of practice on Wednesday.
3 Rion Davis R-SR 6’0″ 190
Davis began his career, after redshirting in 2015, with 10 starts in 2016 and 2017 combined. Last year, he saw playing time in 11 games but primarily as a reserve. Under the new coaching staff, Davis has struggled to find his spot in the secondary, but he adds needed depth and will be a factor on special teams.
28 Micah Glaize FR 6’1″ 190
Glaize is another true freshman and local product from Brookville High School. He has battled an injury through most of camp and has been unable to practice much. Once he returns to full speed, he could factor into the rotation at safety and on special teams.
Safeties Coach Scott Symons – “Micah is extremely smart. He has picked up on our defense really well.”