'20 FL OL Richie Leonard (Florida commit)

Mar 1, 2012
“It really exceeded my expectations,” said Leonard. “A lot of people had told me about Tennessee and what was up here, but I don’t think anybody could have prepared me for this. “Just the facilities, the campus — stuff like that — it’s the nicest I’ve seen. I’ll definitely, most likely come back for an official sometime soon,” he said. “Tennessee is definitely pretty high after the visit. But I’m still committed to Kentucky.”

After arriving at Tennessee late Saturday morning, Leonard said he and his family spent nearly all day on campus leading up to the Vols’ spring game Saturday night and spent most of Sunday there, too. He said he “got to hang out with the coaches and the players a lot,” including second-year Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt, first-year offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, offensive line coach Will Friend, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker — Leonard’s area recruiter for the Vols — and graduate assistant Nick Sewak.

They all made it clear to Leonard that Tennessee could use his help on the offensive line. “They love the way I play the game,” he said. “They love my physicality. They like how I finish people on film, and they’d love to have me. They say they need guys like me in the trenches, with that mentality and that physicality, to come up to Knoxville.” The Vols’ spring game allowed Leonard to see their offense in action, and he said he believes he could be a good fit for their system. “They run the ball a lot, which is a plus for me,” he said. "I like to run-block.”

“It’s been awhile since I’ve been up there,” he said. “I’ve taken some visits. A lot of the fans and stuff thought I’d completely forgotten about Kentucky, but that’s not the case. I’m still committed. I’m still solid. “(Kentucky’s coaches) say it’s important to take other visits, to reaffirm and to shore myself up. They’re not worried about that. They say they have enough good things at Kentucky to talk about to say anything about anybody else.” But Leonard isn't ready to close the door on the other schools pursuing him. He said he plans to use most, if not all, of his official visits in the coming months, starting with “most likely two to three this summer.”

“I mean, I’ll probably have my decision made, definitely before my senior season starts,” Leonard said. "But the announcement of that (is) to be determined. I’m not sure yet.” Leonard, who said he “absolutely” plans to graduate in December and enroll in January at the school of his choice, added that he doesn’t have any additional visits planned at this point because he’s “getting ready to start spring football.”
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