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Training Camp Position Preview: WR
Throughout the month of August, LibertyFlames.com and the Flames Sports Network will be previewing each position on Liberty's football roster, continuing today with a look at Liberty's wide receivers.
Along with today's written preview about the wide receivers, FSN reporter Nick Pierce had a chance to talk to Juan Taylor, Liberty's wide receivers coach.
Like the quarterback position, which has to replace two-year starter Mike Brown, Liberty's wide receiving corps was reduced following the graduation of two of its top three options from the 2011 season.
Chris Summers finished his career at Liberty as the program's all-time leader in receptions (188), receiving yards (2,712) and touchdown receptions (26).
The All-America wide out capped of his days at Liberty with his second 1,000-yard season (1,014) and seven touchdowns in 2011. Just like Brown, Summers is following his dream of playing at the highest level of competition after signing a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears in the offseason.
B.J. Hayes, a fellow graduate with Summers, finished last season ranked third on the team with 306 receiving yards and a touchdown. Hayes' senior year total pushed his career numbers over the 1,000-yard mark (1,160), giving Liberty three players with more than 1,000 career receiving yards on their roster at the end of last year.
The player that finished between Summers and Hayes in 2011 will look to lead Liberty's wide receivers during his senior season.
Pat Kelly had a breakout year last season in preparation for his new leadership role, completing 2011 with a career high in receiving yards (591), receptions (40) and touchdown receptions (3).
Kelly, who was honored during the offseason for his efforts in the classroom as a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American, enters his final season with 1,270 career receiving yards and seven touchdowns to his credit.
Two other players elevated their games during spring practice enough to warrant Liberty's new coaching staff to situate them as potential starters entering August training camp.
During his first season with the Flames after transferring from Marion, Ryan Ferguson saw playing time in nine games and finished the season with nine receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown in 2011.
Joining Ferguson as a potential newcomer to the starting line-up will be Elliott Dutra. During his first two years with the program, Dutra spent most of his time as a member of Liberty's special teams unit and as a fullback.
Wide Receivers at a Glance
Elliott Dutra (Sr., 5-9, 190)
Ryan Ferguson (Sr., 6-0, 180)
Pat Kelly (Sr., 6-2, 190)
Branden Francis (Jr., 5-10, 165)
Julian Glover (Jr., 5-10, 190)
Gabe Henderson (So., 5-11, 195)
Damarcus Faison (Fr., 6-4, 190)
Dante Shells (R-Fr., 6-1, 175)
Darrin Peterson (Fr., 6-2, 190
Greg Pratt (Jr., 5-8, 160)
Ryan McCarter (Fr., 6-2, 165)
The Flames will return to the practice field tomorrow morning from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. before the team will practice in front of the Liberty University freshmen on Thursday evening at the Chancellor's Kickoff event.
Fans are reminded that Liberty's football practices are closed to the general public, outside of the Flames Fan Fest this Saturday evening.
Season and single game tickets remain on sale for the 2012 season through the Flames Ticket Office. For more information about tickets, contact the Flames Ticket Office at (434) 582-SEAT (7328) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.