FOOTBALL

Liam Welch of the Samford Bulldogs is having a big day against the Gators. Here's what to know about him.

Jonathan Tully
Gator Sports

Until Saturday, few outside the Southern Conference or FCS had probably heard of Liam Welch.

But this afternoon, the starting quarterback of the Samford Bulldogs has suddenly taken center stage in college football.

In the first half, Welch threw two touchdowns and ran for two others.

Here are a few things to know about the Bulldogs QB.

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Liam Welch led his high school to one Georgia state title, and almost a second

Back when he played at Aquinas High School in August, Welch led the Augusta-based school to a Georgia Class A state championship in 2013, and then almost got the Irish to a second title in 2015, losing in the title game to Eagle's Landing Christian.

Welch was an All-State performer while at Aquinas, and threw for 73 touchdown passes during his career.

Liam Welch didn't see any appreciable game action at Samford until he was a junior

Welch had to wait around for his turn when he arrived at Samford in 2016. He saw some game time as a freshman backup, redshirted the following year, then a little more time in 2018. 

As a junior, Welch finally got into four games as the Bulldogs' starter, throwing for six touchdowns and running for four others. Welch's highlight that year may have been his three-touchdown performance in a come-from-behind victory against The Citadel that took four overtimes to decide.

Liam Welch blossomed as one of FCS' top offensive players in 2021 -- spring and fall

With the FCS football schedules pushed into spring, Welch emerged at an odd time of year for football. He was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the Bulldogs went 4-3 with an abbreviated schedule.

Welch threw for 12 touchdowns and ran for four more during the season. He finished as the Southern Conference's co-offensive player of the year for the spring season.

He's kept it going in the fall, throwing 17 touchdown passes and running for five more during Samford's season so far.