Signing Day ‘explosive’

Incoming — At a recent open house, Turner Gill discusses the 12 signees committed in his first year. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

In reference to his 12 freshly-inked recruits, Flames head football coach Turner Gill gave a crowd of about 500 a few adjectives to characterize his 2012 recruiting class.

“When I talked to the staff, I said I wanted to find players who were explosive, and I wanted to find players who can make plays,” Gill said.

With those qualities in mind, Gill and his staff focused on bolstering the Flames defensive line that will feature a 4-3 front and adding depth to the wide receiver position with players that pose vertical threats.

“You’re looking for talent, size, speed and guys that are making plays,” Gill said in a press conference earlier in the day (Feb. 1). “If you’ve got enough guys making plays, you’re going to be successful as a football team.”

Warm welcome — Turner Gill and staff introduce themselves to fans. Gill is eager to make an impact this upcoming season. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Getting defensive

Gill signed a total of seven defensive players for the 2012 roster, focusing on the line (four signees) and adding to the linebackers (two signees) and defensive backs (one signee).

Near-300-pound defensive tackle Jibrille Fewell is a transfer from Butte College in Oroville, Calif. and will have two years of eligibility with the Flames. Fewell was originally recruited by Gill to play football at the University of Buffalo. The South Carolina native finished his last season at Butte College with 47 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Linebacker Dallas Griffiths, younger brother of current Liberty backer Chase Griffiths, originally committed to play football at the University of Maryland but eventually signed with Liberty.

“We had an in with him,” linebacker coach Carl Torbush said. “His mom and dad were our best recruiters.”

Griffiths won two state championships in high school, runs a 4.45 40-yard dash, bench presses 400 pounds and power cleans 400 pounds.

At safety, Gill signed locally, bringing on Charles Williams from Prospect, Va.

“The thing that we loved about him on film is that he’s very explosive,” defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly said. “When you see him tackle and make contact, they go backwards.”


On offense, Gill focused on playmakers that could bring speed and explosion to the Flames offense. The Flames signed four wide receivers that average over 21 yards per catch as a group.

“We wanted guys who could take it to the house,” wide receivers coach Juan Taylor said.

Delaware receiver Dante’ Shells enrolled at Liberty last August and will be playing with the team starting this spring. Shells caught 43 passes for 1,264 yards his senior year at Caesar Rodney High School, where he was also a McDonald’s All-American nominee in basketball.

Gill added depth to the running back position by signing D.J. Abnar out of Tallahassee, Fla., and is building the offensive line, adding 300-pounder Aharown Campell and two tight ends, Kendall Couamin of Pines, Fla. and Canon Smith of Birmingham, Ala.

“I think I got more than what I expected,” Gill said. “I think our coaches did a tremendous job going around to the high school coaches around the area and around the country. We hope all these guys are going to be fantastic players for us.”

On the side

When was the last time the crown jewel of a signing class was a kicker? Flames special teams coordinator Mike Minter called kicker John Lunsford the “next Adam Vinatieri” in the introduction of the Florida game Why? You Tube “Lunsford 58-yard field goal” and you’ll see why. Here’s a hint. The video ends with Lunsford’s Evangelical Christian High School getting an additional three points. Lunsford made 90 percent of his field goal attempts in his high school career and averaged 47.0 yards per punt.

Liberty’s 2012 Football Signing Class

D.J. Abnar
RB 5-10 185
Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln HS

Aharown Campbell
OL 6-4 300
Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck HS/Hargrave

Kendall Couamin
TE 6-22 25
Pines, Fla./Everglades HS

Damarcus Faison
WR 6-4 190
Tampa, Fla./Cambridge Christian HS

Dallas Griffiths
LB 6-2 225 Monticello, Fla./North Florida Christian HS

Gerald Holt
DL 6-3 275
Kannapolis, N.C./Kannapolis HS

John Lunsford
K/P 6-1 180
Ft. Myers, Fla./Evangelical
Christian HS

Ryan McCarter
WR 6-2 165
Sterling, Va./Park View HS

Darrin Peterson
WR 6-2 190
Attalla, Ala./Etowah HS

Canon Smith
TE 6-4 255
Birmingham, Ala./Briarwood
Christian HS

Chima Uzowihe
DE 6-2 240
Houston, Texas/Lamar HS

Charles Williams
S 6-0 190
Prospect, Va./Fuqua School HS

Jibrille Fewell
DL 6-1 296 Rock Hill, S.C. South Point HS (Butte College)

Maximilian Sommer
DE 6-6 260
Hamburg, Germany/St. Pauli

Zach Erickson
LB 6-1 255
Memphis, Tenn./Memphis
University HS

Dante’ Shells
WR 6-2 170
Camden, Del./Caesar Rodney HS

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