The Florida State Seminoles beat out two other ACC schools today when they received a verbal commitment from Middletown, Maryland three-star defensive end Rick Leonard. It was down to the Florida State, Clemson and Maryland, but in the end, Leonard chose his childhood favorites, the Seminoles. Despite growing up in Maryland, Leonard has always been a fan of the Noles because his father went there.
The 6-foot-7 260 pound Leonard has only played football for one year but showed enough talent to earn offers from several high profile schools. As a junior, he amassed 60 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks to help lead Middletown High School to a second straight state championship.
Some schools like Leonard as a tight end, and some have even mentioned using him as an offensive tackle if he can gain another 40 to 50 pounds. However, the Seminoles are looking to bring him in as a defensive end in 2014. While his technique and hand usage will need development, he has one attribute that’s invaluable — a high motor.
Leonard consistently tracks down plays that are run away from him and shows a desire to get to the football. Despite being 6-foot-7, he also has shown nice athleticism and can allegedly run a 4.7 40 yard dash. He will need to add some weight to his frame to better take on blockers, but in time, he could become an outstanding defensive end at the next level.
Leonard is an intriguing prospect because he has only played football for one year and has natural size and athleticism. It remains to be seen exactly how the Seminoles will use him, but they’re just happy he’s committed to the class of 2014.