A Summary of the Recruiting Class of 2018
Liberty football announced the signing of eight more players to its 2018 recruiting class on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Including the 19 recruits who signed in December 2017, Liberty’s total number of new signees is 27.
The 2018 recruiting class is the first under the new college football national signing day rule, which gives recruits the option of choosing whether they want to sign their National Letter of Intent (NLI) during an early signing period in December or throughout the traditional period that begins on the first Wednesday of February.
The Flames newest batch of recruits includes four high school seniors, three junior college transfers and one FBS transfer.
“We wanted people who were experienced, we wanted people who can give us depth and wanted them to be able to be impactful on the football team,” head coach Turner Gill said. “I think these young men fulfilled that.”
The following is a description of each new signee:
Chris Barrett, TE, 6-3, 245, ASA Miami/Clearwater, Florida
Barrett is a junior college transfer from ASA Miami, where he played the 2017 season and recorded 10 catches for 114 yards. Coming out of Countryside High School in Clearwater, Florida, Barrett was a three-star recruit and the 75th ranked tight end in the country. He signed his original letter of intent to play at Georgia Southern in 2016 but redshirted his lone season there before transferring to ASA Miami.
Coach Gill: “(Barrett is) a talented young man. He’s an all-around tight end. He’s that true guy that defines tight end in being able to do all those things – block on the line of scrimmage, block away from the line of scrimmage, catch passes in the flats area, can go downfield, has good hands, he can also put himself in the three-point stance. He’s a multi-purpose guy.”
Marcellous Harris, DB, 5-11, Harding University High School/Charlotte, North Carolina
Harris is a high school senior from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was a first-team all-conference selection in 2017. He recorded 52 tackles and had five pass breakups en route to helping Harding University High School win a state championship in his senior season. Harris also had offers from Army, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and Navy.
Coach Gill: “(Harris is a) physical kid. His team won a state championship. He is very talented, can be very, very physical, (and) can run. He’s from Walt Aikens’ old high school, so all those types of connections there were fantastic.”
Johnny Huntley, WR, 6-3, University of Colorado/Plantation, Florida
Huntley comes to Liberty after playing the last two seasons in the Pac-12 for the University of Colorado. In 2016, Huntley was one of only four true freshmen to suit up for the Buffalos. Coming out of high school in Plantation, Florida, he was ranked as the 69th best receiver in the nation. Because Huntley is a Division l transfer, he is not eligible to play for the Flames until the 2019 season.
Coach Gill: “(Huntley is) a transfer here from Colorado that came in this summer, and he is already now here in school. Just a phenomenal person, who can really make a lot of tremendous plays. He will have to sit out this football season, but what I can say about him is that he knows how to lead. He has experience, he’s played at the highest level, he’s been on a team, a 7-on-7 with Buckshot (Calvert), so there’s a lot of common things that we have there with Johnny Huntley. He eventually will have two years to play for us.”
Jessie Lemonier, DE, 6-3, 240, Ventura College/Hialeah, Florida
Lemonier is a junior college transfer from Ventura College in Ventura, California. Lemonier finished the 2017 season with 79 tackles, 8.5 sacks and one interception, winning the Southern California Football Association Northern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award. Lemonier had offers from Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Portland State and UMass in addition to Liberty. He is originally from Hialeah, Florida, and his older brother, Corey Lemonier, currently plays in the NFL for the New York Jets.
Coach Gill: “Originally from the Miami area, he was the defensive player of the year at the junior college league that he played at. (He’s a) fantastic player, (that) can run (and) get off the ball so fantastic and explosive. He’s going to be very, very impactful.”
Ricky Lester, S, 6-2, 180, Saint Pius X High School/Houston, Texas
Lester is a high school senior from Houston, Texas. While playing for Saint Pius X High School, Lester had quite the career, totaling 137 tackles, nine interceptions, six forced fumbles and three sacks in his senior year alone. He was named Houston Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team all-state honoree for his 2017 campaign. Lester had offers from Abilene Christian, Northern Colorado, Tennessee-Martin and nine other FCS programs.
Coach Gill: “(Lester is) a guy who is really, really physical. (He) can flat-out run. (He) plays really more of an outside linebacker, safety, spur positon at his high school. We’re looking to play him as a DB, safety, spur, whatever it may be, but he’s very, very talented and can run around and play.”
Brandon Robinson, QB, 6-4, 215, Irvington High School/Maplewood, New Jersey
Robinson chose Liberty over offers from Central Michigan and Elon. He is a high school senior from Maplewood, New Jersey, who threw for 2,038 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. He also rushed for 409 yards and five touchdowns in 2017.
Coach Gill: “(Robinson is) a big young man, does a lot of great things. He can throw, he can run. He can make a lot of great throws there for us. We’re definitely excited about what he’s able to do out of New Jersey.”
JaVon Scruggs, CB, 5-11, 175, Appomattox High School/Appomattox, Virginia
Scruggs is the local recruit in this class, having played his high school football just down the road in Appomattox, Virginia. He had a successful high school career, winning state championships in his final three seasons. Scruggs also had an offer from Marshall.
Coach Gill: “(Scruggs is) a three-time state champion, great leader on the team. (He) leads his team in FCA. Very talented, played quarterback for them, made plays in all different ways, so I’m very, very excited to have him being a part of it because he knows how to win.”
Isaac Steele, DB, 6-0, Mesa Community College/Phoenix, Arizona
Steele is a junior college transfer from Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, where he had 47 tackles, seven pass breakups and one interception in 2017. Steele was a two-star recruit out of high school in 2016 and signed his original letter of intent to play at the University of Arizona but redshirted his only season for the Wildcats. He chose Liberty over an offer from Northern Arizona.
Coach Gill: “(Steele is) a defensive back, who actually started out at University of Arizona, transferred from there and then ended up going to Mesa (Community) College. I’m excited to see what he can do. He’s physical, he can run, (and) can do the things we want our DBs to be able to do from that perspective.”