Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze hasn’t minced words when it comes to the team’s depth on the offensive line. It was a focal point to add bodies during the most recent recruiting cycle, and it is again a top priority heading into December’s early signing period.
After not securing any verbal commitments from offensive linemen during June or July, this month has been awfully productive for the coaching staff with a trio of prospects verbally committing to the recruiting class of 2020.
The most recent commitment came from guard Brian Hannibal early Sunday afternoon. The 6-foot-2, 277-pound Hannibal plays at James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a three-star recruit, according to the 247Sports composite ranking.
His overall ranking makes him the highest-rated recruit in the Flames’ 2020 recruiting class. He chose Liberty over offers from Buffalo, Marshall, UMass, Old Dominion, Purdue and Rutgers. Syracuse also showed interest in Hannibal but never extended an official offer.
Hannibal joins Will Buchanan and Ben May as offensive linemen in the recruiting class, which now is up to 16 verbal commits.
“I don’t know that we addressed the offensive line one adequately [in the 2019 recruiting class], but we decided that we would wait … because of the guys that we had here,” Freeze said earlier this month.
“We felt like offensive line-wise we were solid enough, provided we don’t have a rash of injuries, that I think we can get through this year. Next year we’ve got to sign six offensive linemen. That becomes a huge need.”
Liberty currently has 15 offensive linemen on the roster following the addition of junior college transfer Maisen Knight in the most recent recruiting class.
Three of the O-linemen on the roster — Dontae Duff, Sam Isaacson and Ethan Crawford — have one more year of eligibility remaining. Duff and Isaacson are projected to start on the right side at guard and tackle, respectively.
May was the first offensive linemen to verbally commit Aug. 3. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound May is a rising senior at Mount Zion High School in Carrollton, Georgia, and had offers from programs like Akron, Central Michigan, Coastal Carolina, Kent State, Louisiana and Southern Miss.
Buchanan made his decision Saturday. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Buchanan plays at Christ School in Arden, North Carolina. He held offers primarily from FCS programs like Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville State and William & Mary.
May is projected to play at guard, and Buchanan is expected to play at tackle.
Damien Sordelett covers Liberty University athletics and local golf for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5550.