To say Rick Leonard was shocked would be an gross understatement. The defensive end from Middletown (Md.) picked up a huge offer he did not expect.
"The offer from Ole Miss means a lot," said the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Leonard. "Hopefully other SEC schools will pick up on it too. Ole Miss is big time and the SEC is the best college football league.
"It came out of the blue," he said. "I've never talked to them before. My coach called me and gave me a number to call. It ended up being Coach Kiffin, the defensive line coach. He said they saw my tape, liked what they saw and that they've been searching the country for defensive ends. We also talked about getting down there for their junior day."
Leonard also possesses offers from Rutgers and Towson.
"Towson offered me right off the bat a couple weeks after football ended," said Leonard. "Rutgers was probably three of four weeks ago. I've been talking to them for a while. I went up there for the junior day, Coach Wroblewski came to my school and they offered me after I talked with them on the phone a few times. I've received letters from Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Old Dominion. Those are pretty much the only ones right now."
There are a few schools that Leonard has always thought very highly of.
"I grew up liking USC because that was when Reggie Bush was winning his Heisman," he said. "I know Alabama, LSU and all the SEC schools are huge. My dad went to Florida State but it's always been a dream of mine to play in the SEC."
Leonard has a good idea of how to choose the right school.
"Obviously, I'm going to go over school size, locations, academics, athletics, coaching philosophy and players that have came out of there," said Leonard. "All of that is going to go into my final decision."
Leonard helped Middletown to a 14-0 record and a state championship last season.