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Flames' Recruiting Class Honored by ESPN.com

November 23, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Following the early signing period, Dale Layer's current recruiting class received the nod from ESPN.com as top class in the Big South.

Following the early signing period, Dale Layer's current recruiting class received the nod from ESPN.com as top class in the Big South.

ESPN.com recently released its list of the top men's basketball recruiting classes in all 33 NCAA Division I conferences. Liberty received the distinction of having the top class in the Big South Conference following the early signing period, with two signees from Texas – Stephen Baird and John Caleb Sanders.

Sanders (G, 6-0, 170, Houston, Texas) is the younger brother of current Flames point guard Jesse Sanders. Much like Liberty's floor general, Sanders has spent his high school career in the Home School Christian Youth Association (HCYA), matching up with the top 5A and prep schools in the Houston area. Recently, he was honored as Preseason First Team All-Greater Houston and is currently on pace to be the all-time leading scorer in HCYA Warrior history. The homeschooled guard, who was also recruited by Rice, Air Force, Alabama and Oklahoma, is a three-time All-American and winner of the Maravich Award and the Sullivan Award for excellence, an honor given to one player each year.

Baird (F, 6-8, 190, San Antonio, Texas) is also a member of the HCYA Warriors, travelling three hours to play alongside Sanders this season. The high school power forward was tabbed by Tex Preps Basketball as one of the top players in the Lone Star State. He was also selected first team all-state, consistently leading his teams in rebounds, free throws and assists with numerous double-doubles. Baird was also recruited by teams around the state and nationwide including Texas, Texas A&M, Kentucky, TCU, SMU, Stanford, LSU, Utah and Marquette.

Words from Dale Layer
"The signing of these two athletes is another very positive step in laying the foundation of our program. Both bring outstanding talent and character to Liberty Basketball and will be expected to contribute immediately. They are winners and come from great families. They will fit in well and very quickly."

For the full release on Liberty's early signees and ESPN's complete conference-by-conference breakdown of the nation's top recruiting classes, check out the above links.

The Flames return to action tomorrow night against the Northwestern Wildcats. The contest is Liberty's second game in the 2009 Chicago Invitational Challenge. Tip-off inside the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., is slated for 6:30 p.m.