Liberty finalized its 2017 football signing class on Wednesday. The Flames received NLIs from 13 high school seniors and have 2 mid-year enrollees. Here are a few notes/thoughts on the class:

  1. Of the 15 signees, 4 came from Florida, 3 from Georgia, 3 from Virginia, 2 from Texas, and 1 each from Indiana, Tennessee, and Washington, DC.
  2. Rankings aren’t everything, especially at this level with a lot of kids that fly under the radar, but everyone wants to talk about stars. The Flames signed two 3-stars (WR DJ Stubbs & DB Keith Best) and one 2-star (S Aaron Pierre).
  3. The Flames signed 2 offensive linemen, 2 defensive linemen, 2 wide receivers, 2 tight ends, 2 corners, 1 safety, 1 quarterback, and 1 running back.
  4. Coach Gill noted that 15 of 20 athletes that took an official visit ended up signing.
  5. DJ Stubbs looks to be the top of the class. He should make an immediate impact as a returner where the Flames have severely lacked game breaking ability since Kevin Fogg was returning punts. Stubbs could also impact the game as a wide receiver in time. He had reported offers from numerous FBS schools including Appalachian State, Colorado State, Florida International, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, and Western Kentucky. He even committed to FIU back in June before decommitting from the Golden Panthers in mid-December.
  6. The Flames’ other 3-star signee, CB Keith Best, could turn out to be a steal. Best had several FBS offers, including at least 1 from an SEC program, before suffering an ACL injury that sidelined him for the majority of his senior season. Coach Gill says he will have the opportunity to play this fall.
  7. Liberty’s coaching staff also identified tight end as a position of need, bringing in two at the position. The Flames brought in Jerome Jackson from Texas and Fidel Ogbeifun from Georgia. Ogbeifun chose Liberty over several FCS offers including Jacksonville State. Some schools were recruiting him to play wide receiver as he has playmaking ability at the tight end position. Ogbeifun was named his team’s offensive player of the year after hauling in 38 receptions for 647 yards and 7 touchdowns.
  8. Gill said at least one of the tight ends will play as a true freshman and maybe both of them. Other than that, there’s no immediate need where any of these guys will definitely play. If any break into the lineup it will be because they beat out returners. 
  9. The Flames picked up several signees with multiple offers from other Division I programs. 4 signees had multiple FBS offers reported (Cooper McCaw, DJ Stubbs, Keith Best, and Aaron Pierre). 3 signees had multiple FCS offers (Frank Boyd, Khaleb Coleman, and Fidel Ogbeifun).
  10. The class did miss out on two other top prospects as defensive back Tyler Murray and defensive lineman London Lewis signed elsewhere. Murray had committed to Liberty before decommitting and signing with Troy. Lewis, a 3 star prospect, committed to the Flames just a week prior to signing day, but decommitted this past Monday and signed with Furman.
  11. Coach Gill also announced that Stephon Masha is transitioning to play wide receiver for his senior season. Gill also stated there will be no competition for the starting quarterback spot as it is Buckshot Calvert’s job. JUCO transfer Mason Cunningham comes in knowing that, and he was brought in to provide more experience as a backup. Solomon McGinty, who started all season last year the hybrid linebacker/safety SPUR spot, has switched permanently to linebacker.
  12. DJ Stubbs and running back Frank Boyd will both be given opportunities immediately to compete for playing time in both the kick and punt return game.
  13. Coach Gill also announced the addition of several preferred walk-ons: TE Michael Bollinger (Boiling Springs HS, Spartanburg, SC), LS Austin Mock (Liberty Christian Academy, Lynchburg, VA), LB Ty Maust (Lord Botetout HS, Daleville, VA), DL Mason Wolk (Liberty Christian Academy, Lynchburg, VA), and DL Elijah Cook (Patrick Henry HS, Roanoke, VA).