football

DE gaining momentum, says two on top

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Rick Leonard is quickly becoming one of the nation's hottest prospects. This week the defensive end from Middletown (Md.) picked up his second SEC offer from Tennessee.
"I think they offered a few days ago but I just got on the phone with the head coach," said the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Leonard. "I talked to Coach Thigpen last week and he said the he and the defensive coordinator cleared the offer but they just had to talk to the head coach. My head coach talked to him yesterday to talk about a few things.
"It's a program on the rise," he said. "I know they were 1-7 in the SEC last year and they weren't the hottest. I've heard they already have a very good recruiting class this year. I heard they redid all the facilities and it's beautiful down there.
"They were trying to get me down this weekend for the spring game but I'm not going to make," Leonard said. "I'm going down to Clemson at the end of April. I still have to plan to get to Tennessee."
The Volunteers are hardly the only school coming after Leonard.
"Arizona offered but I haven't talked to the head coach yet," he said. "I'm waiting to see what happens with that.
"I've been hearing from Michigan State, Nebraska, Temple, Cincinnati and Alabama is coming through," said Leonard. "I've been hearing a lot from Cincinnati so I would be too surprised if they were the next to offer.
"I get personal letters from Rutgers almost every single day," he said. "They are recruiting me very hard, Maryland too. I'm always in touch with Coach Gattuso. He's a really cool guy. I really like the program. I went down there for the spring game. I wasn't too impressed by the offense but the defense is looking good and I got to talk to a few players.
"I don't think I'm going to go to the Rutgers spring game and I haven't even talked to the about it," Leonard said. "My interest in Rutgers is going down a little bit."
Leonard is planning to have a busy summer full of visits.
"I'm definitely going to take a hard look at Tennessee, Clemson, Maryland and I might go up to West Virginia's spring game just to see what they're all about," he said.
Leonard has a soft timeline for the rest of his recruitment.
"I plan on announcing some top schools in about a month when all the schools stop coming through, probably the middle of May," said Leonard. "I'll take some hard looks at those schools and then commit during the summer.
"Out of the offers I already have, I know that Maryland and Clemson will make the cut," he said. "I don't know enough about Tennessee to say they will make it right now but I've heard great things. I know for a fact Maryland and Clemson will be on top."
Leonard helped Middletown to an undefeated state championship season last year.
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