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Training Camp Position Preview: Defensive Line

August 20, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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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 defensive line.

Along with today's written preview about the defensive line, FSN reporter Nick Pierce had a chance to talk to Vantz Singletary, Liberty's new leader of the defensive line.

Defensive Line

The defensive line was the last of the three key units Gill wanted to focus on during his first several months with the program, following the quarterback and offensive line position.

One of the aspects that makes the development of the defensive line so important to Gill for the upcoming 2012 season is Liberty's return to a "4-3" defensive scheme.

A rotation of five players were used during the 2011 season on Liberty's three-man front and three of the five return for the upcoming season.

Nose guard Asa Chapman graduate following a four-year career that resulted in 126 career stops (42 solo, 84 assisted), to go along with 8.5 tackles for a loss and 3.0 sacks.

In addition, Gill made a late roster adjustment during the summer by announcing that junior defensive end Paco Varol (28 tackles, 14 solo, 14 assisted) would not be returning to the program following a violation of team policies.

The trio of returning players who started games on Liberty's defensive line in 2011 include defensive end Cory Freeman and defensive tackles Greg Schuster and Francis Bah.

Freeman started six games in 2011, finishing the season with 29 tackles (13 solo, 16 assisted, nearly tripling his first year with the program.

Schuster played behind Chapman most of the year in 2011, but was inserted into the starting line-up when the Flames did change up their starting formation. He finished the season with 28 tackles (9 solo, 19 assisted), which was five more stops than he posted in 2010.

Bah entered August training camp just behind Schuster on the depth chart at defensive tackle after sitting out spring practice with an injury. Gill wanted to be fair to all his players during spring and judge roles based upon his own observation and not just game film from the previous season.

However, Gill understands that Bah will be a fact or after a breakout year in 2011. Bah recorded sacks in each of the first four games of the year and finished the season with 33 tackles (18 solo, 15 assisted).

Manning the starting roles on the right side of Gill's newly established "4-3" line entering August will be Bryant Lewellyn (NG) and Demetrius Ward (RE).

Lewellyn saw playing time in only four games during the 2011 season and recorded four stops, all assisted. However, the senior impressed the new coaching staff during spring workouts and earned the potential starting role after being named the program's most improved defensive player during the spring (Samkon Gado Award).

Ward will be looking to make a slight position adjustment, as he is one of several former linebackers now helping to fill positions on the revamped defensive line. Playing behind Mike Connolly at the DROP linebacker position in 2011, Ward finished the season with 28 tackles (15 solo, 13 assisted).

Two other newcomers to the program could make an impact on the defensive line. Max Sommer, who continues Liberty's Germany connection, enrolled in Liberty during the spring and will be challenging for time at an end position.

Jibrille Fewell transferred to Liberty from Butte College in California where he was a honorable-mention all-state and All-American NORCAL team selection after recording 47 stops during his sophomore season.

Defensive Line at a Glance
Front Runners
Cory Freeman (DE) (Jr., 6-4, 265)
Greg Schuster (DT) (Sr., 6-2, 265)
Francis Bah (DT) (Jr., 6-3, 295)
Bryant Lewellyn (NG) (Sr., 6-1, 295)
Demetrius Ward (RE) (Sr., 6-1, 204)

Dylan Bowman (So., 6-3, 245)
Jibrille Fewell (Jr., 6-0, 300)
Toby Onyechi (Jr., 6-2, 265)
Max Sommer (R-Fr., 6-6, 260)
Nolan Spicer (R-Fr., 6-3, 260)

Dominique Davis (So., 6-5, 250)
Gerald Holt (Fr., 6-3, 275)
Matt Stokes (So., 6-1, 265)
Chima Uzowihe (Fr., 6-2, 240)

The Flames have spent the last two days away from the practice field, with Media Day on Sunday and the first day of classes on Monday.

Liberty will begin its first regular season practice tomorrow afternoon, working out from 3:15 to 5:45 p.m. inside of Williams Stadium.