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 conclude our position-by-position preview by looking at the Flames' running backs, including insight from running backs coach Jamaal Fobbs, junior Desmond Rice and sophomore D.J. Abnar.
The 2012 season saw the development of strong offensive weapon for the Flames in Aldreakis Allen, but he will miss the first two games of the 2013 season.
Aldreakis Allen earned All-Big South and VaSID first-team all-state honors after rushing for a team-best 1,019 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012. Allen became the ninth 1,000-yard rusher in program history and the seventh to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 or more touchdowns in the same campaign.
However, the rising senior missed the second half of spring practice following a suspension which continued until recent decision announced by head coach Turner Gill. Allen was reinstated to the program and full team activities, including practice, but he will miss Liberty's games against Kent State (Aug. 29) and Monmouth (Sept. 7).
With Allen out of the picture during the second half of spring practice, Desmond Rice and D.J. Abnar used the extra practice time to impress the Flames' coaching staff that they can help carry the load, as well.
Rice finished the 2012 season with 11 carries for 41 yards, while adding eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. The rising junior played in 10 games and started for the Flames at running back against Montana.
Abnar, playing as a true freshman last year, ranked third on the team with 18 carries for 91 yards and a rushing touchdown, while catching four passes for 22 yards during his rookie campaign.
The standout high school running back from Tallahassee, Fla., also took over as Liberty's top special teams' returner after All-American Kevin Fogg was sidelined four games into the season. Abnar finished 2012 with 11 kickoff returns for 303 yards. He averaged 27.5 yards per return, which would have ranked No. 10 in the country in kickoff return average if he had met the NCAA return minimum.
The offseason also saw head coach Turner Gill bolster his depth at running back with the addition of Virginia transfer Clifton Richardson. The Newport News, Va., native played two years for the Cavaliers and was a Top 100 recruit when he graduated from Menchville High School.
Running Back Depth Chart Desmond Rice (Jr., 5-8, 195) D.J. Abnar (So., 5-10, 185) Clifton Richardson (Jr., 6-0, 210) Aldreakis Allen (Sr., 6-0, 230)
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
Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Instagram