North Carolina A&T State vs S.C. State

SC State Linebacker Darius Leonard Is An NFL-Caliber Talent

SC State Linebacker Darius Leonard Is An NFL-Caliber Talent

SC State linebacker Darius Leonard is among the best FCS players in the country.

Sep 29, 2017 by Kolby Paxton
SC State Linebacker Darius Leonard Is An NFL-Caliber Talent
Darius Leonard wasn't an unknown commodity coming out of Lake View (SC) High School.

Clemson, South Carolina, and North Carolina State were among the schools that showed interested in Leonard as a prospect. But weighing in at just 185 pounds was a deterrent for programs interested in the 6-foot-3 linebacker.

Undersized for the position, Leonard didn't end up at either of his home state's Power Five schools. Instead, he made his way to Orangeburg, SC, to join a South Carolina State program that was more than happy to have him.

Bulldogs head coach Buddy Pough says he knew what his staff had in Leonard early on. It was just a matter of being patient and allowing him to gain weight. And that's exactly what Leonard has done, gaining over 50 pounds since his freshman year -- thus, becoming a prototypical linebacker in stature with the speed and explosiveness of a safety.

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Fast forward a few years: Leonard earned 2016 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors and a spot on the first-team All-America defense thanks to a team-leading 124 tackles along with 14 1/2 tackles for a loss and 3 1/2 sacks.

Now a bona fide stud, the redshirt senior Leonard is all over the field for the Bulldogs (1-2), who host undefeated North Carolina A&T on Saturday at 6 PM ET.

Watch North Carolina A&T at South Carolina State LIVE on FloFootball!

Widely considered a late-round NFL Draft prospect, Leonard flexes his versatility throughout the game -- or, as Pough puts it, "He's athletic as all get-out and he will rock your world. He's the total package."

One look at Leonard's tape, and you can see what Pough means -- and what NFL teams see in the SC State linebacker.

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