Former East Limestone star CJ Yarbrough has made the most of late playing time for Liberty. The 6-foot-3 freshman spent most of the season on the sidelines. He appeared in two games but did not record any stats.
That was until two games ago against Virginia. Yarbrough recorded four catches for 83 yards in a loss to the Cavaliers. That included a 47-yard reception. He followed that up Saturday by catching two passes for 41 yards, including a 31-yard reception, against New Mexico State.
Liberty coach Hugh Freeze said good things about Yarbrough during fall camp, but he didn’t make his way onto the stat sheet until the last two games. Freeze said that was because the Flames wanted to “save his games.”
By appearing in only four games this season, Yarbrough can maintain his redshirt status and still have four years of eligibility left starting next season.
Still, he impressed Freeze when he did get on the field.
“I think C.J.’s going to be a star,” Freeze said in a press conference last week. “He’s shown it time and time again in practice. He is a great kid, loves to work, is a very outspoken leader.”
Yarbrough’s production at the next level isn’t a surprise. He was a finalist for Class 5A Back of the Year his senior season and a first-team All-State member in Class 5A. He had 1,014 yards on 32 catches. That’s 31 yards per catch.
With his true freshman season out of the way, expect Yarbrough to have a bigger role for the Flames in seasons to come.
Here is how other NCAA Division I players from the area performed in their Week 14 games:
• Kaleb Barker, Priceville, Troy, quarterback, senior — Barker finished his season by completing 24 of 41 attempts for 281 yards. He did not have a touchdown but threw an interception in a 48-13 loss to Appalachian State. Barker finished the season with 3,628 yards, 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
• Marcus Webb, Austin, Troy, defensive end, senior — Webb recorded one stop in the loss to Appalachian State. He finished the season with 26 tackles, eight tackles for loss and six sacks.
• Reddy Steward, Austin, Troy, defensive back, freshman — Steward made three tackles with two of those being solo stops against Appalachian State. Steward recorded 16 tackles and broke up one pass his freshman season.
• Quez Watkins, Athens, Southern Miss, wide receiver, redshirt junior — Watkins caught three passes for 13 yards in a loss to Florida Atlantic. He finishes the regular season with 55 catches for 1,024 yards. Southern Miss is bowl eligible.
• Marquice Robinson, Austin, Florida Atlantic, offensive line, redshirt freshman — Robinson started at right tackle in the 34-17 win over Southern Miss to close the regular season. He started at that position every game this year for the Owls.
• Keondre Swoopes, Hartselle, UAB, defensive back, freshman — Swoopes made one tackle in a 26-21 win over North Texas. UAB and Florida Atlantic will play in the Conference USA Championship Saturday.
• Deonte Brown, Austin, Alabama, offensive line, redshirt junior — Brown started at right guard in Alabama’s loss to Auburn. After missing the first four games with a suspension, Brown appeared in every game for the Crimson Tide.