As Liberty starts to wrap up its August Training Camp, LibertyFlames.com is winding down its preseason coverage by looking at the Flames' wide receiver position today.
Liberty's wide receiver position is mirroring the Flames' quarterback position in 2016, with both units losing the program's all-time best and looking for new leadership.
Darrin Peterson finished his playing career atop most of Liberty's career receiving charts. He finished his career as the program's all-time leader in receptions (215), receiving yards (3,170), touchdown receptions (27) and 100-yard receiving games (15). Peterson's efforts have been noticed as he signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears after the NFL Draft and currently is in training camp.
Three players will be vying to take Liberty's top receiver position in 2016 – seniors Zac Parker and Dante' Shells and sophomore B.J. Farrow.
Parker finished second on the team to Peterson last year, hauling in 49 receptions for 464 yards and a touchdown. His speed was also used on Liberty's punt return team, spotlighted by a 71-yard return for a touchdown against Gardner-Webb.
Shells has proven to be a big-play receiver the last two seasons, collecting 13 receptions for 30 or more yards in the last two years. His standout game in 2015 came against No. 7 Montana. Shells finished the game with three receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns to help the Flames to a 31-21 upset victory at Williams Stadium.
Although Parker and Shells are seniors, the proverbial torch might have been passed from Peterson to Farrow on one of the final offensive plays of 2015. Of Farrow's 32 receptions during his redshirt freshman season, the most notable was a 40-yard scoring strike with 1:27 left on the clock to secure Liberty's victory over Big South rival and No. 4 Coastal Carolina, 24-21, during the team's season finale.
Damian King and Kyle Carrington lead a large list of reserves who will challenge for playing time behind Farrow, Parker and Peterson. King played in 10 games in 2015, finishing the season with 18 receptions for 161 yards. Carrington saw playing time in three games, recording three receptions for 16 yards.
The wide receiver position is one area Head Coach Turner Gill may look to allow a true freshman to play in 2016. The freshman player from this group receiving the most discussion from Gill when asked by the media is Antonio Gandy-Golden. The 6-4, 200-pound wide receiver set six school receiving records at Paulding Country High School in Dallas, Ga.
August Training Camp Depth Chart – Wide Receivers Note: Below is the depth chart entering August Training Camp on Aug. 8 and does not reflect any changes during training camp - Liberty will issue an updated depth chart on Aug. 30.
WR (X) 82 B.J. Farrow (So., 6-2, 190) 85 Kyle Carrington (R-Fr., 6-1, 190)
WR (Z) 8 Dante' Shells (Sr., 6-1, 180)
WR (H) 1 Zac Parker (Sr., 5-9, 185) 7 Damian King (So., 5-11, 175)
Wide Receiver Reserves: 88 Isaac Brown (Jr., 6-3, 190) 80 Joshua Cruz (Fr., 6-1, 185) 81 Marquis Fitzgerald (Jr., 6-1, 190) 2 Antonio Gandy-Golden (Fr., 6-4, 200) 84 Austin Jones (Sr., 6-1, 195) 11 Lionell McConnell (Fr., 5-10, 180) 18 Josh Newman (R-Fr., 5-10, 190) 87 Cephas Reddick (R-So., 5-8, 175) 83 Josh Tully (R-Fr., 5-10, 175)
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