February 6, 2009

On field success helps Liberty with recruiting

Fresh off the best season in program history, Liberty Head Football Coach Danny Rocco has announced the signing of 11 future student-athletes to national letters of intent for the upcoming 2009-10 academic year.

Rocco, a three-time Big South Coach of the Year and a finalist for last season's Eddie Robinson and Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year honors, officially announced his fourth signing class at a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, in the main team room inside the Williams Football Operations Center.

"We are all very excited about our signing class of 2009," remarked Rocco. "It is apparent our on-field successes the past few seasons are beginning to pay great dividends.

"Our ability to have a strong presence in our home state speaks volumes toward the progress being made here at Liberty. We look forward to getting this class on campus, as we continue to build for the future of the Liberty football program."

The 11 signees keep a trend alive for Rocco, as the head coach also brought in 11 newcomers in 2007 and 13 rookies in 2008. Rocco opened his tenure at Liberty by signing his largest signing class at 24 new student-athletes in 2006.

Nearly half of the signees will not have to travel far from home for their collegiate careers, as five of the 11 newcomers hail from within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Liberty also inked a pair of signees from North Carolina, while receiving single commitments from student-athletes coming from Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

The Flames' 2009 signing class is predominately made up of offensive players, as the collection includes three running backs, a quarterback and an offensive lineman. Two players are of the defensive variety, with a defensive back and a linebacker slotted to come to Liberty next fall, followed by a trio of players who can play on either side of the field. Rounding out the list is a specialist in a long snapper.

The near dozen newcomers will look to continue Liberty's recent run of success, as the Flames are coming off a 10-2 campaign in 2008 and their second straight Big South title. Liberty finished the year ranked No. 14 in the final season national ranking, marking the highest end of the year listing in program history.
 

Aldreakis Allen / RB, 6-0, 210, Colbert, Ga./Madison County HS
Three-year starter and letterwinner … three-time All-Region 8-AAAA first-team wide receiver … recipient of the Madison County High School Best Offensive Receiver Award his last three years with the Tigers … three-time All-Northeast Georgia Football honoree, including a first-team selection during his sophomore season … first-team all-state Class AAAA at wide receiver as a sophomore, finishing the year with 62 receptions for 851 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing for 402 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries … had a career-high 116 rushing attempts as a junior for 616 yards and seven touchdowns … also added 37 receptions for 796 yards and five touchdown receptions … named Northeast Georgia Player of the Week after finishing with six receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns and six carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns against Elbert County High School during his junior campaign … Terrific 10 preseason Top 10 selection in Northeast Georgia as a senior … finished his final season with the Tigers by rushing for 254 yards on 60 carries and four touchdowns, to go along with 34 receptions for 605 yards and five touchdowns … his career stat line reads 133 receptions for 2,252 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns, to go along with 212 rushing attempts for 1,272 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Chase Barnett / RB, 5-8, 175, Stafford, Va./Brooke Point HS
Four-year letterwinner … four-time all-district honoree … first-team all-district, all-area and all-region during both his sophomore and junior campaigns … added first-team all-state accolades to his impressive high school resume as a junior, as he rushed for 2,100 yards and 28 touchdowns, averaging 8.1 yards per rushing attempt … rushed for 1,400 yards in seven games as a senior, before suffering an injury … a multi-purpose athlete, he was also an all-district runner in the 55 meters (indoors) during his junior year … son of Cassandra Morris.

Malcolm Boyd / OL, 6-4, 275, Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman HS
Two-year starter … two-time letterwinner … finished his career with 120 pancake blocks and graded out at over 90 percent … helped Dorman High School to a 23-4 record as a starter … helped the Cavaliers best school team rushing records his final two seasons at Dorman … named Dorman's Best Offensive Lineman in 2008 … also a Shrine Bowl and All-Region II-AAAA selection during his senior year … chose Liberty over offers from traditional FCS powerhouses Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.

Robby Cramer / LS, 6-1, 225, Hoover, Ala./Hoover HS
Three-year letterwinner … helped Hoover High School to a pair of state runner-up finishes in 6A football, as a sophomore and a senior … played his first high school game on national television, as ESPN broadcast Hoover's contest against Tulsa Union in 2006 … three-time regional champions … listed among the nation's best long snappers by kicking.com … Fellowship of Christian Athletes team leader … has previous ties to Liberty as his father, Gary, and mother, Wendy, both graduated from Liberty … his father was a two-year member of the men's soccer program, serving as a team captain … would like to major in finance at Liberty.

D.J. Edmond / DB, 6-2, 195, Spotsylvania, Va./Riverbend HS
Three-year letterwinner … two-time team Defensive MVP … three-year All-District team selection … finished his junior year with 88 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups … earned Roanoke Times Top 100 honors as a senior, after finishing his final season at Riverbend High School with 99 tackles, one interception and a pass breakup … excelled in the classroom, as he was a three-year All-Academic team member … three-year basketball letterwinner … four-time track and field letterwinner … comes from an athletic family, as both his parents competed collegiately at Bowling Green … his father, Derrick, was a football and track athlete for the Falcons, while his mother, Grace, ran track … is planning on pursuing a biology degree at Liberty.

Eric Fath / TE/LB, 6-3, 240, Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown HS
Two-year letterwinner … has only played organized football for three years, but quickly managed to catch the watchful eye of area award winners, as he was named a 2008 Mini Maxwell Award winner … all-state at both tight end and linebacker as a senior … finished his senior year by catching 41 passes for 900 yards and eight touchdowns … captain of his squad during his senior campaign … helped Quakertown High School post a 9-3 record on the season … Associated Press AAAA and Pa. FootballNews second-team all-state honoree … Philadelphia Inquirer second-team all-area selection … participated in the PSFCA East-West Game … nominated for a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award after having a 3.7 cumulative GPA … active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes … a talented musician, who can play five different musical instruments … son of Larry and Lana Fath … would like to pursue a music ministry degree at Liberty.

Kevin Fogg / RB, 5-10, 175, Raleigh, N.C./Apex HS
Three-year letterwinner … three-time all-conference selection … named team Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, junior and senior … team captain during his senior season … selected to play in the 2008 North Carolina / South Carolina Shrine Bowl game, which is the oldest high school all-star game in the country … his three-year stat line reads 4,095 total offensive yards, having rushed for 2,897 yards to go along with 1,198 receiving yards … recorded 35 rushing touchdowns and eight receiving touchdowns … returned two punts for a touchdown … son of Sherwin and Marsha Fogg … is planning to major in business or math at Liberty.

Corey Freeman / DE/TE, 6-4, 235, Raeford, N.C./Hoke County HS
Two-year letterwinner … earned honorable-mention all-conference accolades as a junior, finishing the year with 54 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and an 80-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown … team captain as a senior … earned all-conference honors during his final season at Hoke County High School, tallying 72 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles … also a team captain on the basketball and track teams … son of Anthony and Margaret Freeman … his father played football at Fayetteville State … is interested in Liberty's business communications course of studies.

Brian Hudson / QB, 6-4, 200, Stafford, Va./Brooke Point HS
Three-year letterwinner at Brooke Point High School … three-time All-District quarterback selection … threw for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore, leading his squad to a state playoff appearance … passed for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns during his junior campaign, helping the Black Hawks to the district championship … nearly doubled his numbers during his senior go around at Brooke Point, throwing for 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns, helping him garner all-area quarterbacking honors … three-year member of the baseball team … four-year honor roll student … son of Wayne and Teresa Hudson.

Demetrius Ward / LB, 6-1, 215, Hampton, Va./Phoebus HS
Three-year letterwinner … helped Phoebus High School to state championships during his sophomore and senior seasons and the state semifinals during his junior campaign … first-team all-district and all-region as a senior … helped the Phantoms post nine shutouts and hold opponents to 53 total points en route to this past season's title run … Phoebus was ranked No. 3 nationally by RivalsHigh.com … finished his senior season ranked No. 69 in the Roanoke Times Top 100 annual listing … also played basketball … son of Derrick and JoAnn Ward … planning on majoring in communications.

Jay Weatherington / OL/DL, 6-4, 280, Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge HS
Three-year varsity letterwinner and starter … captain of senior team … first-team all-district his sophomore, junior and senior seasons … all-district and all-region tight end as a junior … helped Woodbridge to a 9-5 record, the Northwest Region championship and a runner-up finish in the VHSL state playoffs … first-team Cardinal District offensive lineman selection as a senior … named to the Northwest Region Group AAA second-team as an offensive lineman … Great American Rivalry Series Student-Athlete Award honoree … son of Dyke and Julie Weatherington … chose Liberty over offers from James Madison, Navy and defending FCS national champion Richmond.

Liberty Student-Athletes already enrolled at the University this spring:

Ervin Garner / WR, 5-9, 160, Fairfax, Va./Oakton HS (Virginia Tech)
Enrolled at Liberty in January … transferred to Liberty from Virginia Tech … had been with the Hokies since 2007 … redshirted his first year in Blacksburg and added depth to the Hokies' 2008 Orange Bowl championship roster … graduated from Oakton High School … caught 35 passes for 450 yards as a senior, scoring five times on four receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown … as a defensive player, he picked off four passes and added two fumble recoveries … a dangerous return specialist, he returned seven kicks for a score, with three coming on punt returns and four on kickoff returns … earned second-team all-conference honors as a wide receiver and return specialist his senior year … garnered first-team all-district accolades at wide receiver, cornerback and return specialist … a finalist for the 2007 All-Gameday Player of the Year … named Oakton's Male Athlete of the Year … son of Andrea Garner … cousin of former Pittsburgh Steelers standout Reggie Harrison, who helped the Steelers win two Super Bowl rings.

Justin Hilton / WR, 6-3, 190, Kissimmee, Fla./Harmony HS (Butte CC)
Enrolled at Liberty in January … transferred to Liberty from Butte Community College in Orville, Calif. … as a freshman, he caught 36 passes for 611 yards and scored twice … during his sophomore season, the wide out caught 25 passes for 506 yards and eight scores, including the first touchdown reception of Butte's junior college national championship game appearance … in the title game, the Roadrunners defeated California State, 17-9, capping off a perfect 12-0 season for Butte … graduated from Harmony High School in Kissimmee, Fla. … caught 11 touchdown passes his senior year … selected to play in the Central Florida All-Star game … a versatile athlete, who also played baseball and ran track and field at Harmony … chose Liberty over offers from Sacramento State and Utah State.

Sir Chauncey Holloway / RB, 5-8, 190, Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS
Enrolled at Liberty in January … graduated from Armwood High School in December … was unable to play his senior year at Armwood following a zoning dispute … transferred to Armwood following his junior year at Plant County High School … rushed for 972 yards on 124 carries, scoring 11 rushing touchdowns … second-team All-Hillsborough County selection as a junior … is the brother-in-law of the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis.

Pat Kelly / WR, 6-3, 190, Forest, Va./Liberty Christian Acad.
Enrolled at Liberty in January … three-year letterwinner at Liberty Christian Academy … three-time all-conference performer … garnered second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore, hauling in 27 receptions for 430 yards and six touchdowns … received first-team all-conference, all-area and all-state accolades as a junior, after posting 53 catches for 874 yards and 15 touchdowns … capped off his high school tenure by recording career-high numbers, as he tallied 1,002 receiving yards on 47 catches and 16 touchdowns in 2008 … team captain his junior and senior year … also an all-conference, all-area and all-state performer in the high jump, triple jump and long jump … a candidate for the High School Heisman award and a finalist for the Titan Trophy … graduated with Highest Honors … member of the National Honor Society … son of Pat and Debbie Kelly.

D.J. Sellman / OL, 6-6, 320, Columbia, Md./DeMatha Catholic High School
Enrolled at Liberty last August … four-year letterwinner at DeMatha Catholic High School … led DeMatha to two WCAC championships (sophomore and junior years) … DC Sports fan second-team member as a junior … Pigskin Club of Washington D.C. / All-Metropolitan team member … Gazette All-County first-team offensive team … Washington Post honorable mention third-team offense … son of Teresa Marshall … intends to major in sport management at Liberty.

Brent Vinson / DB/S, 6-1, 200, Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell HS (Fork Union)
Enrolled at Liberty in January … transferred to Liberty from Fork Union Military Academy … started every game for Fork Union in 2008 … graduated from Ardrey Kell High School … was a Southwestern 4A all-conference defensive back in 2006 … was forced to sit out the 2007 season due to an injury.

Steven Wilkes / TE, 6-6, 240, Clifton Forge, Va./Alleghany High School
Enrolled at Liberty last August …four-year letterwinner and starter at Alleghany High School … all-district and all-area honoree as a senior … finished his senior campaign with 45 receptions … four-year letterwinner in basketball … three-year letterwinner in track and field … son of Roger and Stephanie Hunter.




 

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