Auburn Freshman Adds Muscle and Size

A report featuring Auburn University freshman linebacker Hendrick Leverette is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Freshman linebacker Hendrick Leverette is hoping bigger is better as he tries to make an early impact as a college football player.

Leverette has been on the Auburn University campus taking classes and working out this summer. He has also worked on getting bigger and stronger and has made excellent strides in that area.

"I am up to 221 pounds now and that is a good weight for me," says the six-footer from Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Miss. "I have gained 15 pounds since I got up here."

His new position coach, James Willis, says that Leverette will likely play weakside linebacker as a freshman. Last year's starter at the position, Antarrious Williams, has graduated. Redshirt sophomore Merrill Johnson, who was injured in the spring, is healthy again and running number one at the spot with redshirt freshman Tray Blackmon suspended indefinitely by head coach Tommy Tuberville.

Because of that, there is a greater chance for either Leverette and fellow linebacker signee Craig Stevens to see playing time this fall.

"I hope to play as a true freshman, but I will have to see how things go in practice," says Leverette, who notes that Willis has challenged him to make a run at playing time this fall.

"I am excited about it," Leverette adds. "I heard two-a-days are tough and I am trying to get my mind ready.

"The summer workouts have been going good. I think everybody in the freshman class has gotten in good shape with Coach Yox's (Kevin Yoxall) strength and conditioning program.

"The older guys have been helping us out, giving us little tips on how to make it through the system. I think that has helped me out a lot."

The Tigers will begin full pads practices on Sunday and two-a-day practices begin on Tuesday.

Leverette led his team to a 12-1 record last season as he made 98 solo tackles with 58 assists. He notes that he doesn't have a specific goal for his first season in college.

"I just want to work hard," he says. "There are a lot of good athletes out here. Everybody on this level is good so you have to work as hard as you can."

He says that he believes it was a good decision to report early to Auburn and take two summer classes. "Those were good," he says. "I think that got me in a groove moving from high school to college."

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