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Sixteen Flames named to Phil Steele preseason All-Independent team

liberty cure bowl
Liberty players celebrate after the Flames closed out a 37-34 win over Coastal Carolina in the 2020 Cure Bowl. Photo courtesy Liberty Athletics.

Following a standout season in 2020, Liberty’s Durrell Johnson will head into the 2021 campaign as a preseason All-American.

Johnson has been named to the 2021 Phil Steele Preseason All-America team, garnering a fourth-team selection as a defensive end.

Johnson, along with 15 other Flames, have also been named to the 2021 Phil Steele Preseason Independent All-Conference teams.

Liberty had the most selections on the Phil Steele Preseason Independent All-Conference teams (16), followed by Notre Dame (12), BYU (10), Army (9), New Mexico State (5) and UConn and UMass (4).

Liberty’s first-team all-conference honorees include: Malik Willis (QB), Tristan Schultz (OT), Johnson (DE), Marcus Haskins (CB) and Demario Douglas (PR).

The Flames’ second-team all-conference selections include: Joshua Mack (RB), DJ Stubbs (WR), Johnny Huntley (TE), Brendan Schlittler (OG), Ralphs Rusins (DT), Elijah James (DT), TreShaun Clark (DE), Javon Scruggs (S), Alex Barbir (K), Shedro Louis (KR) and Austin Mock (LS).

After his first season at Liberty, Johnson, a transfer from ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., was named to the 2020 Phil Steele Postseason All-America as a fourth-team selection.

Last season, Johnson led the Flames with 11.5 tackles for a loss (74 yards) and 8.5 sacks (65 yards). The junior college transfer ranked No. 28 in the country in sacks per game (0.77).

The native of Baltimore, Md., also finished 2020 with 38 tackles (25 solo, 13 assisted), which ranked fourth on the team.

He added six quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and an interception, helping Liberty rank No. 11 nationally in total defense (317.7 yards allowed per game).

Phil Steele Preseason All-America Team

Durrell Johnson, DE (fourth team)

Phil Steele Preseason Independent All-Conference Teams

First Team

  • Malik Willis, QB
  • Tristan Schultz, OT
  • Durrell Johnson, DE
  • Marcus Haskins, CB
  • Demario Douglas, PR

Second Team

  • Joshua Mack, RB
  • DJ Stubbs, WR
  • Johnny Huntley, TE
  • Brendan Schlittler, OG
  • Ralphs Rusins, DT
  • Elijah James, DT
  • TreShaun Clark, DE
  • Javon Scruggs, S
  • Alex Barbir, K
  • Shedro Louis KR
  • Austin Mock, LS

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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