Liberty has three on preseason STATS FCS All-America team
The day prior to Liberty opening its preseason training camp, three Flames were named to the 2017 STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team.
Long snapper Hunter Winstead was named to the second team, while defensive lineman Juwan Wells and kicker Alex Probert were both third team honorees. The trio of players all received postseason All-America honors in 2016.
Liberty’s three honorees were among the seven Big South players who were named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team.
Joining Liberty’s selections were first team honorees Anthony Ellis (DL/Charleston Southern) and Mike Basile (DB/Monmouth), second team selection Solomon Brown (LB/Charleston Southern) and third team member Frank Cirone (OL/Charleston Southern).
Winstead was a 2016 STATS FCS All-America third team honoree. The three-year starter finished the last two seasons with a 100.0 percent snap rating. He also recorded two assisted tackles in 2016, giving him six for his Liberty career.
Winstead, a native of Raleigh, N.C., has worked side by side with punter Trey Turner, helping Turner earn All-Big South honors the last two seasons. Turner finished second in the Big South in punting last year after leading the conference as a freshman and sophomore. Turner ranked No. 37 in the country in punting in 2016, averaging 41.0 yards per punt.
Wells was named to the 2016 HERO Sports FCS Sophomore All-America squad. He had a breakout season for the Flames, leading the team with a career-best 79 tackles. He ranked third in the Big South in total tackles and finished the season fifth in the Big South in tackles for a loss (11.0) and fourth in sacks (5.5).
The 2016 All-Big South first team honoree has recorded 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks during his first two years at Liberty. The native of Dublin, Ga., also finished last season with a team-best nine pass breakups and posted four double-digit tackle efforts.
Probert finished his first year at Liberty as an honorable mention selection to the 2016 HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-America team. He finished last year with 78 points, the most by a freshman in school history.
The native of Andover, Minn., earned All-Big South first team honors after leading the Big South and ranking No. 10 in the country in field goals per game (1.36). Probert was named to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List, which honors the top FCS freshman in the country, and finished in 17th place in the award’s final voting.
Liberty will begin its preseason training camp on Tuesday, holding its first team practice of the year from 9:20 to 11:45 a.m.The Flames will open the season at Baylor on Sept. 2 and welcome Morehead State to Williams Stadium for their home opener on Sept. 9.