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Flames Position Previews: Wide Receivers

August 29, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Chris Summers is one of several wide receivers Liberty's quarterbacks will look for in 2009.

Chris Summers is one of several wide receivers Liberty's quarterbacks will look for in 2009.

As the Flames stand a week from taking the field against West Virginia to open the 2009 season, continues its Countdown to Kickoff series today by previewing the Flames wide receivers.

Liberty's wide outs have been potent weapons in head coach Danny Rocco's offense over the past several years, and a new crop of players will look to continue the tradition that has been recently started by their predecessors.

Wide Receivers
The past two seasons, the Flames have successfully been able to retool the wide receiver position. In 2009, Rocco is hoping to make it three for three in this part of his offensive scheme.

In 2007, the tandem of Wynton Jackson (641 yards/six touchdowns) and Brandon Turner (536 yards/three touchdowns) were responsible for over 50 percent of the Flames' total receiving yards.

Last year, another pair stepped up to do even more damage, as Dominic Bolden (1,056 yards/nine touchdowns) and Jonathan Crawford (713 yards/six touchdowns) were the prime targets for Brock Smith during his senior campaign. Their combined 1,769 yards made them the second highest receiving tandem in program history.

"The wide receiver position is a position that is very intriguing to me," commented Rocco about his corps. "We have a number of different candidates that we are looking at. Once again, we really don't have the statistical superiority at the position going into this year like we had a year ago, but there certainly is talent in this position."

B.J. Hayes and Mike Brown enter the season listed as possible starters at one wide out position, while Jimmy Eden and Chris Summers had solid workouts last spring to help them rise to top the list of ample options at this position.

"Chris Summers is a big, tall and rangy sophomore receiver for us, who I think has a chance to be an outstanding player," stated Rocco about his 6-4 receiver, who gained valuable playing time in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman last year.

Eden, along with Pat Kelly, are two youngsters who could see time during their first year on the field. "Jimmy Eden and Pat Kelly are two young players in the program that show an awful a lot of promise and versatility," added Rocco.

New additions to the Flames' roster over the past six months also provide depth and previous collegiate playing experience. Ervin Garner, who transferred in January from Virginia Tech, and Freddie Brown, who graduated alongside quarterback Tommy Beecher at South Carolina in May, give Liberty experienced options.

"Ervin is a real speed athlete at wide receiver," stated Rocco. "Freddie Brown is another transfer that we are looking forward to getting into our program. He is tall and a physical receiver that I really think could offer some immediate impact."

But the eventual placement of Mike Brown and Hayes might really tell the story of how potent Liberty's wide outs might be in 2009. The pair were fourth and fifth, respectively, among wide receivers last year. Mike Brown finished the year with 19 receptions for 331 yards and a touchdown, while Hayes hauled in 17 passes for 189 yards.

"The two biggest cogs could be B.J. Hayes, who can function at receiver and at running back, plus the possibility of having Mike Brown at times out there at the wide receiver position," commented Rocco. "So you can see, there really is some versatility and flexibility in this year's version of our offense, especially at wide receiver."

Wide Receivers at a Glance
Front Runners

Freddie Brown (R-Sr., 6-3, 210)
Chris Summers (R-So., 6-4, 190)
B.J. Hayes (R-So., 5-9, 185)
Mike Brown (R-So., 6-0, 190)

Jimmy Eden (R-Fr., 5-10, 175)
Kyle DeArmon (R-Jr., 6-3, 185)
Ervin Garner (R-So., 5-9, 165)
Aaron Hewlett (R-Sr., 5-7, 165)
Pat Kelly (Fr., 6-3, 205)

Brandon Apon (Fr., 6-4, 215)
Zach Duke (So., 5-11, 175)
Cody Fridgen (R-Fr., 5-11, 180)
Bellmon Hicks (So., 5-10, 170)
Josh Medlin (R-So., 5-11, 180)