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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Liberty
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  09/28/20 - Malik WillisrJr/2022, Liberty, 6-1, 215 (DS#21 QB) + More +

  The dual-threat quarterback, who last week used his feet more than his arm, recorded his first two career passing touchdowns Saturday. Willis went 24 for 30 for 285 yards through the air, including a 24-yard TD pass to Noah Frith and a 14-yard TD toss to DJ Stubbs. The latter featured some acrobatic work from Stubbs, who tipped the ball and somehow corralled it in the back left corner of the end zone. "It was one of the most exciting plays of my life. Felt like AGG for a moment," Stubbs said, referring to Antonio Gandy-Golden, the highlight-reel-producing former LU receiver who is with the Washington Football Team now. Stubbs hauled in eight passes for 119 yards as Willis' favorite target of the day. Willis once again was Liberty's leading rusher, picking up 116 yards on the ground, 67 of which came late in the game when he scrambled on third down, then spun out of a tackle in the middle of the field, setting up an eventual field goal in the fourth quarter. - Lynchburg News and Advance

(DS#21 QB) rJr/2022 QB Malik WillisLiberty
News Source: Lynchburg News and Advance
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  09/26/20 - Malik WillisrJr/2022, Liberty, 6-1, 215 (DS#21 QB) + More +

  Malik Willis threw two touchdown passes and accounted for 370 yards of offense to lead Liberty to a 36-34 victory over Florida International on Saturday. Willis was 24-of-30 passing for 285 yards and added 85 yards rushing. His 67-yard run helped set up Alex Barbir's 27-yard field goal that stretched the Flames' lead to 36-28 with 6:32 remaining. Lexington Joseph returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards. Four plays later Stone Norton made it 36-34 with a 6-yard TD pass to D'vonte Price, pulling FIU to 36-34 with 4:30 to play.

Joseph also ran 100 yards into the end zone on the opening kickoff. Norton was sacked twice as the Panthers went four-and-out on their final possession deep inside their own territory with 1:32 left. Joshua Mack had a 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and finished with 107 yards rushing for Liberty (2-0). Price, a senior, ran for a career-high 148 yards with TD runs from 30 and 65 yards in the Panthers' season opener. The freshman Norton was 9-of-13 passing for 120 yards with two touchdown passes. Capacity was limited to 1,000 at 25,000-seat Williams Stadium. It was the first meeting between the teams. - Liberty/AP College Football


(DS#21 QB) rJr/2022 QB Malik WillisLiberty
News Source: Liberty/AP College Football
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  09/19/20 - Malik WillisrJr/2022, Liberty, 6-1, 215 (DS#21 QB) + More +

  Malik Willis rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns in his Liberty debut as the Flames opened their season with a 30-24 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday. Willis, a backup quarterback at Auburn for two seasons before transferring and sitting out last year, ran for two short touchdowns in the first half and added an 18-yard run early in the fourth quarter for a 30-17 lead. He had 21 carries and threw for 133 yards on 13-of-21 passing. Tyrrell Pigrome, a grad transfer from Maryland where he started seven games over four years, threw three touchdown passes, including a 36-yard score to Craig Burt Jr. to get the Hilltoppers (0-2) within 30-24 with three minutes left.

Liberty, however, was able to run out the clock. Pigrome finished 18-of-25 passing for 193 yards. The Flames snapped a 14-all tie late in the third quarter when Shedro Louis sped around the left side for a 29-yard score. Willis started the 85-yard drive with a 51-yard run. Joshua Mack added 100 yards rushing on 23 carries with Liberty finishing with 354 yards on the ground. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, attendance was restricted to 20 percent of the 22,113-seat stadium with fans required to wear masks. - Liberty/AP College Football


(DS#21 QB) rJr/2022 QB Malik WillisLiberty
News Source: Liberty/AP College Football
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  09/15/20 - Malik WillisrJr/2022, Liberty, 6-1, 215 (DS#21 QB) + More +

  Malik Willis was widely expected to take over the reins of Liberty's offense for the 2020 season following the graduation of record-setting signal caller Buckshot Calvert. The dual-threat quarterback who transferred from Auburn was seen as the type of athlete who would thrive in Hugh Freeze's RPO offense. Willis, who battled Chris Ferguson and Johnathan Bennett during training camp, was tabbed by Freeze on Monday as the Flames' QB1 for Saturday's season opener at Western Kentucky. "Malik will get the start on Saturday," Freeze said. " … We feel very good about he and Chris and even JB. They both have continued to improve. Just feel like Malik maybe gives us just a little extra something when plays don't quite go the way we want with his legs. He's going to get the start on Saturday." The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Willis gives the Flames an extra dimension to the offense that wasn't available last season with Calvert. The program's all-time leader in most every passing category was a pure passer who could move around in the pocket with his eyes up the field, but was never a consistent threat to run the ball. - Lynchburg News and Advance

(DS#21 QB) rJr/2022 QB Malik WillisLiberty
News Source: Lynchburg News and Advance
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  09/09/20 - Isaac SteelerSr/2021, Liberty, 6-0, 180 (DS#999 FS) + More +

  Freeze revealed Monday that senior defensive tackle Elisha Mitchell and redshirt senior safety Isaac Steele, both of whom were scholarship players, have opted out of playing this season because of the spread of COVID-19. Steele's decision to opt out is significant in an already thin secondary that has been plagued with injuries in the past two weeks. Safeties coach Corey Batoon said Steele was able to play all three safety positions - free safety, rover and strong safety (nickelback) - and was a veteran presence in a group that includes JaVon Scruggs (Appomattox) and Benjamin Alexander. Scruggs, rover Tim-Kidd Glass and cornerbacks Emanuel Dabney, Isaiah Avery and Hunter Goetz have missed practice time in the past week with undisclosed injuries. The lack of depth, particularly at cornerback behind Jimmy Faulks and Chris Megginson (Heritage High), has forced the defensive staff to move junior college transfer Marcus Haskins from safety to cornerback. "We're rotating Haskins over there, too," Freeze said. "He's learning both safety and corner." - Lynchburg News and Advance

(DS#999 FS) rSr/2021 FS Isaac SteeleLiberty
News Source: Lynchburg News and Advance
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  07/20/20 - Devonte LloydSr/2021, Liberty, 6-2, 300 (DS#999 DT) + More +

  Liberty defensive tackle Devonte Lloyd has announced his intentions to transfer from the school. Lloyd committed to Liberty in December 2018 out of Northwest Mississippi Community College. The 6-2, 330 pound defensive lineman attended Meridian High School in Senatobia, Mississippi. He had numerous offers out of JUCO, including Bowling Green, FAU, Louisiana-Monroe, Troy and Western Kentucky. In his first season on the field with the Flames in 2019, Lloyd fought through nagging injuries all season and played in just 4 games, preserving his redshirt season. He was expected to compete for playing time in 2020 as part of the two-deep on the defensive line. - A Sea of Red

(DS#999 DT) Sr/2021 DT Devonte LloydLiberty
News Source: A Sea of Red
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  05/21/20 - Antonio Gandy-GoldenSr/2020, Liberty, 6-4, 223 (DS#13 WR) + More +

  Former Liberty wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden announced Wednesday he tested positive for the novel coronavirus prior to the NFL Draft but made a full recovery in time for the Washington Redskins to select him in the fourth round. Gandy-Golden described his symptoms as "mild" following a March 24 diagnosis. He said he self-quarantined for two weeks and was cleared to return April 7. The Redskins drafted him 2 1/2 weeks later on the final day of the three-day NFL Draft. "I feel 100% now and can't wait to get on the field for the Redskins ASAP!" Gandy-Golden said in a statement released by his agent.

Tuesday evening, Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. hinted at Gandy-Golden's positive test during an appearance on Fox News. "Even the one student, who was an online student who never was on campus and tested positive, it turns out he quit school to go into the NFL Draft back early in March, even though he was online, but somehow that got press," Falwell said on "The Ingraham Angle." - Lynchburg News and Advance


(DS#13 WR) Sr/2020 WR Antonio Gandy-GoldenLiberty
News Source: Lynchburg News and Advance
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  05/08/20 - Rashad JenningsrSr/2009, Liberty, 6-1, 231 (DS#7 RB) + More +

  Former Liberty standout and NFL running back running back Rashad Jennings will have his jersey retired at his alma mater this fall. Jennings will become the fifth person associated with the Flames' football program to have a jersey retired. Liberty will retire the No. 23 jersey during a Sept. 26 game against Florida International. Kickoff for that game is set for 6 p.m. In his three years with the program from 2006 trough 2008, Jennings rushed for 3,633 yards and set program records for career rushing touchdowns (42), 100-yard games (22) and points scored (278). - Lynchburg News and Advance

(DS#7 RB) rSr/2009 RB Rashad JenningsLiberty
News Source: Lynchburg News and Advance
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  03/20/20 - Antonio Gandy-GoldenSr/2020, Liberty, 6-4, 223 (DS#13 WR) + More +

  A slew of scouts from the NFL and Canadian Football League were expected to attend Liberty football's pro day on April 7. The main attraction was wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. While most eyes would have been on Gandy-Golden, players such as quarterback Buckshot Calvert and defensive end Jessie Lemonier could have significantly bolstered either their draft stock or generated consideration as free agent signees if things went well. Those opportunities were wiped out Thursday when Liberty announced it canceled its annual pro day. The announcement was made in conjunction with the cancellation of the annual spring game, which was scheduled for April 4. The remaining 10 spring practices have been suspended indefinitely, and a decision on whether those practices will be made up this spring will likely come next week during a conference call with the ASUN Conference. "It seems to surely be headed in that direction, unless something changes," Flames coach Hugh Freeze said last week. "We'll be OK either way."

The coaching staff was anticipating the players returning to campus this weekend, with the sixth practice scheduled for Monday. The staff, though, made contingency plans in case practices are canceled and ensured the players had the means to continue training on their own. "We've got all the technology. We can send them cut-ups and tapes and all those things. We'll do what we can with whatever comes," Freeze said. "We're going to stay in contact with our kids, but it won't be the same as taking them to training tables and seeing them every day. You hope that our program has kind of set a standard that most want to chase to where they chose to do the right things academically, socially and physically, even when we're not together if it comes that way." - Lynchburg News and Advance


(DS#13 WR) Sr/2020 WR Antonio Gandy-GoldenLiberty
News Source: Lynchburg News and Advance
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  02/09/20 - Antonio Gandy-GoldenSr/2020, Liberty, 6-4, 223 (DS#13 WR) + More +

  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty,...Gandy-Golden is the first Liberty player to receive an invitation to the NFL Combine since quarterback Josh Woodrum and kicker John Lunsford participated in 2016. Running back Rashad Jennings also received an invitation in 2009 before he was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gandy-Golden finished his senior year with the Flames ranked No. 4 in the country in total receiving yards (1,396) and No. 5 in receiving yards per game (107.4). He ranks No. 22 in the country in receptions per game (6.1). During the 2019 season, Gandy-Golden became the first player in program history to record 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons (2017 – 1,066; 2018 – 1,037; 2019 – 1,396). - Liberty Football

(DS#13 WR) Sr/2020 WR Antonio Gandy-GoldenLiberty
News Source: Liberty Football
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  12/21/19 - Frankie HicksonrSr/2020, Liberty, 5-07, 190 (DS#68 RB) + More +

  Frankie Hickson picked up 120 yards rushing on 22 carries, Stephen Calvert went 16 of 35 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and Liberty beat Georgia Southern 23-16 in the Cure Bowl on Saturday. Hickson became the first Liberty running back since Rashad Jennings (2006-08) to have back to back seasons of 1,000-yards rushing. Flames coach Hugh Freeze, who began his first season coaching Liberty from a hospital bed in the press box following back surgery on Aug. 16, got his 50th career win. Liberty (8-5) joined Georgia Southern and Appalachian State as the only teams to move from FCS to FBS and win a bowl game in its first season of eligibility.

Shai Werts completed 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards and gained 57 yards on 22 carries for Georgia Southern (7-6). Wesley Kennedy III had 104 yards on nine rushing attempts. Calvert threw a 57-yard old touchdown pass to Johnny Huntley late in the first quarter and Joshua Mack scored on a three-run yard during the second as Liberty took a 16-7 halftime lead. Kennedy had a 10-yard TD dash in the second for Georgia Southern, which was out gained 264-115 in the first half and 402-289 overall. Antonio Gandy-Golden caught a 14-yard scoring strike from Calvert in the third. The Liberty defense limited Georgia Southern to three field goals in the second half. - AP College Football


(DS#68 RB) rSr/2020 RB Frankie HicksonLiberty
News Source: AP College Football
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  11/30/19 - Frankie HicksonrSr/2020, Liberty, 5-07, 190 (DS#68 RB) + More +

  Frankie Hickson made it a Senior Day to remember for Liberty, rushing for a career-high 196 yards and a career-best four touchdowns to power the Flames to a 49-28 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday. Hickson's effort vaulted him past Chip Smith (1974-76) and Lawrence Worthington (1994-96) and into fourth place on Liberty's all-time rushing list with 2,787 yards. Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert completed 16 of 29 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, breaking his own school passing record set in 2017 by 29 yards with 3,392. He has thrown 26 touchdown passes and only five interceptions as the Flames (7-5) qualified for an FBS bowl game in their first season of eligibility. Wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden will have to wait until the bowl game to try and set a record for most receiving yards in a season for the Flames. Gandy-Golden came into the game second in the nation with 1,304 yards receiving but was held to four catches and 29 yards. He needs 47 yards to set the Flames' record. Liberty beat the Aggies (2-10) for the second time this season after a 20-13 victory in October. - AP College Football

(DS#68 RB) rSr/2020 RB Frankie HicksonLiberty
News Source: AP College Football
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  11/02/19 - Stephen CalvertSr/2020, Liberty, 6-1, 180 (DS#45 QB) + More +

  Stephen Calvert passed for 474 yards and four touchdowns and Frankie Hickson added three scoring runs as Liberty overpowered Massachusetts 63-21 on Saturday in a game between independent programs. Liberty (6-3) took control of the game in the first quarter. Hickson capped a game-opening drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. The Minutemen were forced to punt on their first drive, but DJ Stubbs fumbled and Isaiah Rodgers recovered the ball, giving UMass a first-and-10 at the Liberty 16. Cam Roberson ran it in from there to knot the score at 7.

It took the Flames three plays to regain the lead for good. Calvert connected with Joshua Mack for a 62-yard gain on second down and freshman quarterback Brandon Robinson stepped in and tossed his first career TD pass, a 5-yarder to Troy Henderson. Calvert stretched the Flames' lead to 14 with a 31-yard scoring strike to Demario Douglas with 1:36 left in the second quarter. After Liberty forced a three-and-out, Calvert needed just two plays to make it 28-7 -- hitting Antonio Gandy-Golden for a 60-yard TD with 2 seconds left. Hickson, who finished with 99 yards on 14 carries, had two third-quarter TD runs for Liberty. Calvert connected on 20 of 27 passes without an interception. Gandy-Golden had six catches for 137 yards. Andrew Brito completed 16 of 27 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns for the Minutemen. - AP College Football


(DS#45 QB) Sr/2020 QB Stephen CalvertLiberty
News Source: AP College Football
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  10/19/19 - Stephen CalvertSr/2020, Liberty, 6-1, 180 (DS#45 QB) + More +

  Stephen Calvert threw for five touchdowns and passed the 10,000-yard passing mark for his career and Liberty beat Maine 59-44 on Saturday. The Flames have won three straight home games and are 8-2 at Williams Stadium since joining the FBS ranks in 2018. Liberty now has won five straight by an average margin of 16.4 points. Calvert was 23-of-35 passing for 351 yards. He threw scores to five receivers and completed passes to 11 receivers. Antonio Gandy-Golden caught nine passes for 149 yards and became the Flames' all-time receiving yards leader. Liberty built leads of 31-3 and 38-10 on scoring passes from Calvert to Tory Henderson and Frankie Hickson. On the other side, Maine's Joe Fagnano completed 25 of 37 attempts for 445 yards and five TDs as well. Fagnano threw three scores in the fourth quarter with Maine trailing 52-24 entering the period. Maine outgained Liberty (5-2) in total yards 572-487 and held the ball for 36 minutes. - AP College Football

(DS#45 QB) Sr/2020 QB Stephen CalvertLiberty
News Source: AP College Football
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  10/06/19 - Joshua MackrSr/2021, Liberty, 5-11, 200 (DS#38 RB) + More +

  Joshua Mack ran for a 4-yard touchdown with six minutes left and Liberty held off New Mexico State for a 20-13 victory on Saturday night. Jason Huntley's 12-yard TD run pulled the Aggies (0-6) even at 13-apiece with 7:46 remaining. On the ensuing series, Stephen Calvert threw a 54-yard pass to Mack, who scored on the next play. New Mexico State drove to the Liberty 8, but Jessie Lemonier forced a fumble from quarterback Josh Adkins with 3:15 remaining. Liberty's Solomon Ajayi recovered the ball and the Flames ran out the clock. Mack finished with 113 yards rushing on 16 carries for Liberty (4-2). Calvert was 16-of-31 passing for 173 yards. Adkins was 20 of 30 for 265 yards passing but threw two interceptions for New Mexico State. Huntley added 75 yards on 16 carries. - AP College Football

(DS#38 RB) rSr/2021 RB Joshua MackLiberty
News Source: AP College Football
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