By Chris Klimaszewski
In October 2018, LIU announced that the LIU Post and the LIU Brooklyn athletic teams were merging, becoming ONE LIU and a Division I sports program. Some of the LIU Post athletic programs would be discontinued, but not the football program. The football program will remain on the Brookville campus. The football team ended its season with a Northeast-10 Championship, a 10-1 record, and a first-round loss to Slippery Rock.
With the football program changing from Division II to Division I and a move to the Northeast Conference, head coach Bryan Collins and his staff have been busy getting ready for their inaugural Division I season by signing more than 31 recruits for the upcoming season.
This is the biggest recruiting class the program has had, regardless of level of play. Coach Collins and his staff recruited players in nine different states this year including Virginia, Florida, Illinois, and Maryland. “The competition is elevated now. With where LIU is located, it makes it very attractive place to come to for the next four, five years,” Coach Collins said. “We wanted to become a more national brand than a regional brand.”
The football team will have 15 starting seniors graduate in May, including Chris Coles, Jake Carlock, Malik Pierre and Mike Richardson, who were all three-year starters. “I believe every single position has been filled with this recruiting class,” Coach Collins said.
He and his staff changed up their recruiting tactics for the Division I level. “Many of the players we recruited are receiving academic scholarships. I think it’s important nationally that we recruit that kind of player that the university projects as increasing our national brand,” Coach Collins said.
In the past four years, the football team had three starting transfer quarterbacks: Jeff Kidd (2015-2016), Yianni Gavalas (2017), Chris Laviano (2018), and for 2019, according to Coach Collins, junior transfer quarterback Clay Bethard from Iowa Western College has the potential to start this season.
The team has recruited two top quarterbacks including Camden Orth from Florida and Luke Sprague from Pennsylvania. “We’re very happy with our incoming quarterbacks. It’s going to be a very good competition this season,” Coach Collins said.