Rashad Jennings or Eric Green? Mike Brown or Antonio Gandy-Golden? Old school or new school?
Debates over who is the greatest Liberty football player can vary, and we have done our best to identify the best of the best, ranking the greatest players in school history.
With thousands of football players to suit up for the Flames over the years, just making this list is a huge honor, but who will be in the coveted top spot? Today, our list discusses Nos. 30 through 21.
30. Nick Sigmon, LB, (2011-14)
Out of Roanoke, Virginia, Sigmon was one of former head coach Danny Rocco’s most sought after recruits during his time in Lynchburg, and Sigmon didn’t disappoint once he got on campus.
A 4-year starter, Sigmon was named either first or second-team all-Big South each and every season. Additionally, he was named 2nd-team all-state in 2012 and 2014. He finished his career with over 200 career tackles while also leading the team in tackles in 2013.
29. D.J. Abnar, RB, 2012-15
Abnar had one of the best single seasons as a running back in program history in 2014. He was named to the Big South all-conference and VaSID all-state first teams for his performance. He helped lead the Flames to its only FCS Playoff appearance that season.
He finished his Liberty career with 2,059 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns, numbers that would have certainly been higher if he didn’t miss the final 5 games of his career due to an injury. Abnar also added 276 receiving yards and 694 kickoff return yards during his career.
28. Walt Aikens, DB, 2011-13
Drafted in the 4th round of the NFL Draft in 2014, Aikens starred at Liberty after transferring from Illinois. He led the team with 62 tackles his senior season. A three-year starter, Aikens was named a Big South all-conference performer each season.
He even tried his hand at basketball for a season as he was a two-sport athlete briefly for the Flames. In addition to his 62 tackles as a senior, Aikens added 3 interceptions and 7 pass deflections. He finished his career with 7 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles.
Aikens’ NFL stock began to rise at the Senior Bowl and then at his pro day he had over 20 scouts show up as he went from being considered a fringe draft pick consideration in the late rounds to being projected as high as a 2nd round pick before the Miami Dolphins eventually selected him No. 125 overall.
27. Juwan Wells, DE, 2015-18
Juwan Wells wreaked havoc on opposing defenses as Liberty finished its time as an FCS member.
Uncommon for a defensive lineman, Wells led the team in tackles in both 2016 and 2017, and he was named a first-team All-American in 2016, as well as first-team all-state and first-team all-conference. In 2017, Wells was named 2nd team all-state and 2nd team all-conference.
He is currently ranked 4th in school history with 19.5 career sacks and 5th on the all-time list with 37.5 tackles for loss during his career.
26. Doman Bomar, LB, 1993-96
Bomar is 4th all-time on Liberty’s career tackles list with 385 and is also the career leader in fumble recoveries. He was named a third-team All-American in his senior season when he led the team in tackles.
He was part of one of Liberty’s better teams in 1995 when he helped lead the Flames to an 8-3 record, including wins over nationally-ranked UCF and Western Kentucky.
25. Richard Shelton, DB, 1984-88
The final two years of Shelton’s career, he combined to have 100 tackles and finished his career with 11 interceptions and 26 breakups. In addition to being a standout at corner, he was also very dynamic as a returner. He still holds program records for career punt return yardage, punt returns for a touchdown and punt return average.
His 20 pass breakups in 1988 are tied for the 2nd most in a single season in school history and he has the third most career pass breakups. Following his senior season, he was named first-team all-state and was inducted into the Liberty Hall of Fame in 2017.
After competing at the NFL Combine, Shelton became the third player in program history to be selected in the NFL Draft when he was taken by the Denver Broncos in the 10th round in 1989. He had a five-year playing career with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers. Following his playing career, he has been a long-time NFL scout for the Tennessee Titans.
24. Robby Justino, QB, 1989-92
In his first career start in 1989, Justino led Liberty to its first ever victory over an FBS opponent, helping the Flames defeat Eastern Michigan while throwing the game winning pass. He finished his career holding just about every passing record in school history. He still ranks 3rd in career passing yards with 9,548, 2nd in touchdown passes with 64, 3rd in completion percentage, 3rd in total offense, and 4th in total touchdowns.
23. Steve Kearns, TE, 1976-79
Kearns began his career at Liberty as a defensive end but finished as an All-American tight end and wide receiver. He finished his playing days as the program’s all-time career leader in receiving yards and touchdown receptions. He currently ranks 2nd with 23.3 yards per reception during the 1977 season.
He was named a second-team All-American in 1978 and helped the team post a 9-1-1 record and No. 18 final ranking in the 1979 final NAIA top 25 national poll.
Kearns led the Flames in receiving yards in both ’77 and ’78 and was the first player in program history to be selected in a professional football draft as he was a 4th round pick by British Columbia in the 1980 Canadian Football League Draft.
He was selected to the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
22. Lawrence Worthington, RB, 1994-96
Worthington ranks in the top 5 of the Liberty record books in career rushing yards and touchdowns and single season rushing yards and touchdowns. His 35 career rushing touchdowns ranks 2nd only to Rashad Jennings. He led the team in rushing for three straight seasons under former head coach Sam Rutigliano.
21. Tony Dews, TE, 1992-95
Like Kearns, Dews began his career as a defensive lineman but then transitioned to a role on offense as a tight end. Dews led the team in receiving in both 1994 and 1995 under head coach Sam Rutigliano. He was named a first-team All-American in 1995.
Following his playing career, Dews began a long and successful coaching career. He has spent time as an assistant at West Virginia, Holy Cross, Central Michigan, UNLV, Michigan, Pitt, Arizona, and with the Tennessee Titans where he is currently the running backs coach.