Will linebacker follow teammate to Tempe?

If there is one Colorado high school you would want to establish a pipeline to, Denver Mullen should be your choice. The Mustangs are an established powerhouse in that area and one of its defensive standouts from last season, Junior (Nduka) Onyeali will be an incoming freshman for ASU. Mullen LB Leilon Willingham has naturally been exposed to the Sun Devil program and so far likes what he sees.

"Junior and I are friends and he told me a lot about Arizona State," said the 6-2 235 Leilon Willingham. "It would be cool to play with him again and I want to learn more about the school."

Willingham was offered by the maroon and gold in late March, and is being recruited by coaches Craig and Trent Bray.

"I really like the school and I think it's nice that they were the top defense in the Pac-10 last season," Willingham stated. "I think they can be just as good this year. I know that if I come and play there I'll be free to roam around and fly to the ball making plays. Their defense is very fast and I think I would in nicely with them.

"I was there (in the Metro Phoenix area) for a basketball tournament last year and it's a very nice place. I can see myself living there for four years."

The linebacker collected 74 tackles in 2009. He reported a 40 time of 4.5 and a power clean mark of 315 lbs.

"I have good size and speed and I can make plays in the open field," Willingham commented on his skills. "I play basketball and that helps my quickness. I bring the heat on every down, rush the passer, run to the ball and make plays. Even though I'm fast I want to get faster. I need to also work on my awareness."

Colorado was the first school to offer Willingham, who also has offers from Utah, Kansas State, Minnesota and Colorado State. "USC, Oregon and Central Florida have been talking to me too," he added.

The linebacker noted that he has no preference whether to stay in-state or leave home for college.

"I know my family wants to me stay home," Willingham acknowledged, "but I feel that I need to get out."

Willingham visited just Colorado thus far, and that's the Buffaloes camp is the only one he is scheduled this far to attend.

Mullen is coming off a 14-0 campaign and back to back 5A state titles. Willingham said that the Mustangs' rich tradition and high expectations doesn't create added pressure for him and his teammates to perform.

"We just work hard and go out every Friday to play," Willingham said. "We know that if we play hard and play for each other we will be successful. I play for a school that is never complacent and all it cares about is winning. That's what drives us and having that attitude when I play in college can only help me."

The linebacker doesn't anticipate an early decision and feels that it is necessary for him to officially visit some of his suitors during or after the upcoming season before he makes his pledge.

"Academics and surroundings are very important to me," Willingham remarked. "My family is going to be a big part of my decision and it may be a tough decision for me if I want to leave home and they want me to stay. But I don't think it will be an issue for me to leave the state."


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