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Flames Position Previews: Tight Ends

August 25, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Will Quarles is one of several tight ends assistant coach Ernie McCook spoke about in today's video position breakdown.
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As part of the web site's Countdown to Kickoff coverage, LibertyFlames.com continues its position preview this afternoon, taking a look at the Flames tight ends.

Three-time Big South Coach of the Year Danny Rocco has had a solid stable of tight ends to go to the past several years, including a pair of tight ends who have earned Big South all-conference honors.

However, those honorees have graduated, leaving the positional legacy in the hands of several solid contenders. Following today's practice, the Flames Sports Network had a chance to speak with tight ends coach and running game coordinator Ernie McCook, getting a feel from the first-year assistant coach about his player following Liberty's training camp.

Tight Ends
Although Liberty's tight ends have not put up the statistical numbers that warrants recognition over the past several seasons (an average of 140 yards per year for the starter over the past seven years), the blocking work the Flames tight ends have done for Liberty's power running attack has not gone unnoticed.

Chris Luck was a three-time Big South all-conference honoree, including first-team accolades during his final two seasons in 2005 and 2006. Last year, Corey Rasberry continued the tradition, as the sizable tight end was recognized for his blocking abilities, as a second-team all-conference selection. He finished the year with a career-best 15 catches for 190 yards and his lone collegiate touchdown.

This season, the position of providing Liberty an extra blocker in its punishing rushing attack has been handed to redshirt senior Will Quarles. Quarles saw playing time in 10 out of 12 games in 2008 and caught one pass for 14 yards, while being heavily used on the Flames special teams.

"Will Quarles is a young man that came on real strong during the spring," said Rocco. "He is going into his senior year and he played a significant amount of football for us last year. He has good size and a good combination of run blocking ability and pass reception ability."

Also adding depth behind Quarles will be Tommy Shaver, Dominique Jones and Matthias Wrede. Shaver matched Quarles in 2008 with 10 games of action and one single 14-yard reception, while Jones hauled in two catches for 20 yards.

"Tommy Shaver is a young man, who is a big giant of a guy and can be a threat in both the blocking game and receiving game," added Rocco. "Tommy will give us the ability to use some two tight end formations, with Quarles and Shaver in the game at the same time.

"Matthias Wrede is a very strong player, who was an offensive tackle for us and we are now moving to tight end," continued Rocco. "Dominique Jones enjoyed a good spring, giving us four big bodies at the tight end position that adds flexibility and versatility to our offense."

Tight Ends at a Glance
Front Runner
Will Quarles (R-Sr., 6-2, 250)

Contenders
Ryan Culkin (R-Jr., 6-4, 225)
Dominique Jones (R-Sr., 6-1, 260)
Tommy Shaver (R-So., 6-6, 250)

Up-and-Comers
Eric Fath (Fr., 6-3, 240)
Matthias Wrede (Jr., 6-5, 265)

Following back-to-back positional previews, LibertyFlames.com is set to return to taking a look at the Flames foes in the Big South. Tomorrow, as part of the web site's Countdown to Kickoff coverage, LibertyFlames.com will be previewing Coastal Carolina, Liberty's newly established rival.