Denver Mullen is blessed with one of the best linebacker groups in the country, including three players that are solid Division I prospects. One of those key defenders is Leilon Willingham, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound hard hitting outside linebacker.
Willingham was named first-team all-Centennial League and honorable mention all-state last season. He helped lead a Mullen defense that allowed an average of just 5.7 points per game.
"It's really a lot of fun," Willingham said when talking about playing with other talented linebackers on his team. "Every day is a competition whether it be drills, trying to be the first to finish, or just in the weight room. Every day we are out there always pushing each other to get better."
Early in the recruiting process he landed offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Utah and Washington. He just recently added an offer from Arizona State, a school he plans on visiting this weekend.
"I'm actually going there this weekend for their spring game, and I think it's their junior day," Willingham said. "I'm excited just to see the environment around the campus and the environment around the football program. Their facilities and of course the type of players they have are also a key. I kind just want to see if I can see myself playing there for the next four years of my life. I'm not really leaning any which way on anyone at this point, though"
With the spring evaluation period in full effect, Willingham has been in consistent contact with several coaches and schools.
"I've been talking to coach (Brian) Cabral and (head) coach (Dan) Hawkins at Colorado," Willingham said. "Coach Cabral is pretty cool. I talk to them both quite a bit with them being right up the street, but not too, too much. Then coach (Ricky) Rahne at Kansas State, coach Bray at Arizona State, coach (Joey) Orck at Vanderbilt are all cool guys.
"All the coaches tell me the same thing really. They like the way I move on the field, and that I'm the type of player they are looking for to play in their program."
Willingham said at one point he was thinking about making an early decision before his senior season started, but now he's not so sure. One thing he is sure about, is that it would be really cool to play with his high school teammates on the next level if that works out.
"We talk about it a little bit," Willingham said. "Honestly, we want to go where we can all play and contribute early while we're young. We're considering it, but in the long run it will come down to what each of us want to do and what's best for us."