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2013 Training Camp Position Preview: Safeties
Throughout Liberty's preseason training camp, LibertyFlames.com will preview each position on the Flames' team, providing insight into the development of each group's players leading up to the Flames' season opener against Kent State on Aug. 29.
Today, we continue our position-by-position preview by looking at the Flames' safeties position, including insight from defensive coordinator and linebackers/safeties coach Robert Wimberly, senior Aaron Dial and junior Jacob Hagen.
Liberty's safety position will be looking to replace the program's overall No. 1 defender during the 2012 season, as Brent Vinson graduated following a standout senior campaign last year.
Vinson, who started the final 29 games of his career, including 11 at safety in 2012, finished off his days at Liberty by leading the team with 68 tackles (41 solo, 27 assisted). His four-year career allowed him to finish as Liberty's active career tackles leader with 171 tackles (91 solo, 80 assisted), 9.0 tackles for a loss and 12 pass breakups.
Aaron Dial, who worked under Vinson during the 2012 season, will have the formidable test of trying to replace Liberty's top defender. Dial played in eight of the last nine games last year, finishing the season with five tackles (three solo, two assisted). He will be backed up by Miles Hunter, who played in all 11 games in 2012, finishing the year with six tackles (three solo, three assisted).
Jacob Hagen will be able to help Dial opposite him, following a successful season starting at free safety. Much like fellow defenders Cory Freeman (DL), Scott Hyland (LB) and Kenny Scott (CB), Hagen made the most of his first season under a new coaching staff.
Hagen finished 2012 ranked sixth on the team with 46 stops (36 solo, 10 assisted), starting 10 out of 11 games at free safety. Hagen's most notable play of the year came in the Liberty's final home game of the season. He picked up one of five turnovers the Flames forced against No. 6/8 Stony Brook, returning a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown to help seal Liberty's first-ever victory over a Top 10 program.
Safeties Depth Chart
Aaron Dial (Sr., 5-11, 195)
Miles Hunter (R-So., 5-10, 195)
Gary Sampson (Fr., 5-11, 190)
Jacob Hagen (Jr., 6-3, 205)
Charles Williams (R-Fr., 6-0, 190)
Nick Newman (Fr., 6-4, 210)
Full Training Camp Position Preview Schedule:
Aug. 1 – Wide Receivers
Aug. 5 – Defensive Line
Aug. 7 – Quarterbacks
Aug. 10 – Linebackers
Aug. 12 – Tight Ends/Fullbacks
Aug. 14 – Cornerbacks
Aug. 19 – Safeties
Aug. 21 – Offensive Line
Aug. 23 – Special Teams
Aug. 25 – Running Backs