Chris Summers will look to lead the Flames' wide receiver corps this season after finishing the 2009 campaign with a team-high four receiving touchdowns and 603 receiving yards.
Throughout the month of August, LibertyFlames.com will be running previews of each position on the Flames' roster as part of its Countdown to Kickoff coverage, leading up to the home opener against St. Francis, Pa., on Sept. 4.
The web site's position previews continue today with a look at Liberty's wide receivers, as we try to prepare you for Saturday's offensive Flames Football Preview Show. Last year, Mike Brown and Chris Summers combined to have the No. 2 and No. 3 all-time sophomore receiving seasons in program history.
Wide Receivers Head Coach Danny Rocco is quite excited about the return of Mike Brown and the additional time he is going to see under center this upcoming season, The fifth-year head coach is even more thrilled with the stock of skill players he has returning, beginning with his wide receiver corps. "Probably the most exciting thing about our offense is the return of our skill position players," stated Rocco. "We are very deep at these positions, starting with a solid group of returning wide receivers."
Looking to lead this pack will be Chris Summers, who truly had a breakout season in 2009. The junior finished second on the team to Brown with 603 receiving yards, but led the program with a 13.1 yards per catch average and four receiving touchdowns.
Brown (698 yards) and Summers' numbers were impressive enough to grab the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the program's all-time sophomore receiving charts.
"Chris truly had a breakout year for us last season," commented Rocco. "He is a big, tall athlete, who can make a number of catches. Last year, he showed he can catch the deep pass, but this past spring he started to develop into a more complete receiver. We are really excited about his potential during the next two years."
Although Summers will be the featured wide receiver among Liberty's corps, he is surrounded by a plethora of solid wide receivers. Two of the most notable additional wide receivers are B.J. Hayes and Ervin Garner.
"B.J. Hayes and Ervin Garner are two juniors on our roster that are going to be key inside receivers for us this year," remarked Rocco. "They both have the ability to beat the defense deep, but they also can catch the underneath pass and run well with the ball after the reception."
While Hayes was listed as a wide receiver last year, he finished the season with twice as many rushing attempts (40 carries for 247 yards and two touchdowns) as receptions (15 receptions for 119 yards). In his first season with the program since transferring from Virginia Tech, Garner tallied six receptions for 124 yards.
A further look into the Flames' wide receiver depth chart shows a pair of sophomore receivers who look to also make an impact in Jimmy Eden and Pat Kelly.
"Jimmy Eden is a very skilled receiver, who has good hands and will mostly be used as a slot receiver," added Rocco. "Pat Kelly returns to us after having a dynamic spring. He should give some good relief to Chris Summers on the outside, but he can truly play all four wide receiver positions."
Eden and Kelly both saw significant time last year (eight and 10 games, respectively), with Eden finishing the campaign with eight catches for 49 yards and Kelly with three receptions for 24 yards.
The final two wide receivers who will look to have an impact this year are a newcomer in Greg Pratt and a program veteran in Kyle DeArmon.
"Greg Pratt has joined our program after transferring to Liberty from Troy. He is a candidate to do some good things for us, as we try to find the exact spot for him," continued Rocco. "Kyle DeArmon is a senior, who has been in our program for a good while. Kyle is a converted quarterback with good size and is a physical blocker. He certainly will have a role with our receiving corps this year."
Wide Receivers at a Glance Front Runners Chris Summers (R-Jr., 6-4, 190) Ervin Garner (R-Jr., 5-9, 165) B.J. Hayes (R-Jr., 5-9, 190) Jimmy Eden (R-So., 5-10, 175)
Contenders Kyle DeArmon (R-Sr., 6-3, 185) Pat Kelly (So., 6-3, 200) Greg Pratt (R-Fr., 5-8, 160)
Up-and-Comers Isaac Cadet (R-Fr., 6-0, 190) Zach Duke (R-Sr., 5-11, 175) Brandon Francis (Fr., 6-0, 170) Donte Harvey (R-Fr., 5-10, 170) Bellmon Hicks (Sr., 5-10, 170) Hunter Jackson (R-Fr., 6-2, 210) Austin Marsh (R-So., 6-2, 185) Josh Medlin (Sr., 5-11, 180) Keithen Washington (R-So., 6-3, 170)
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