Charting Chris Leak

In the recruiting circles, one of the hottest topics of discussion is quarterback <B>Chris Leak</B> from Charlotte (N.C.) Independence High School. Leak is a five-star talent and currently rated the number two quarterback in the country by TheInsiders.com, just behind Miami bound Kyle Wright.

In the recruiting circles, one of the hottest topics of discussion is quarterback Chris Leak from Charlotte (N.C.) Independence High School. Leak is a five-star talent and currently rated the number two quarterback in the country by TheInsiders.com, just behind Miami bound Kyle Wright. Leak has had a story-book high school career, winning three straight state championships. For his career, Leak finished with an astounding 15,593 passing yards and 185 touchdown passes (a national record). Now the big question is where will Chris Leak sign to play college football?

Several months ago, it was a foregone conclusion that he was headed to the University of Tennessee. After all, his older brother C.J. Leak had transferred there from Wake Forest and he has been backing up starting quarterback Casey Clausen. But this season, James Banks, a true freshman, has taken over the reigns as Clausen's back up. That didn't sit well with the Leaks and Chris has since dropped the Volunteers.

Tennessee's loss is everyone's gain. Leak has now taken four official visits to Florida, Texas, Florida State and Southern Cal. He hopes to try and squeeze in a visit to Iowa this weekend. There is a time constraint because Leak wants to announce his decision at halftime of the All-American Bowl in Texas on January 5th.

This begs the question, where will he end up?

The University of Florida already has a committed quarterback in Justin Midgett but they have wanted to bring in two signal callers all along. They would love to sign Leak. Head Coach Ron Zook and Florida Offensive Coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher flew to Charlotte to attend one of Leak's playoff games a few weeks ago. The Leaks were impressed that Florida has shown so much interest. A few weeks ago, Leak's father, Curtis, went to Gainesville to check out the university and watch practice. It appears that the Gators are in good shape to land him.

But there is tough competition. Texas loses Chris Simms to graduation and the NFL. Mack Brown has turned Texas into a national power and the Longhorns are a very attractive team to Leak. Red-shirt junior Chance Mock and red-shirt freshman phenom Vincent Young will battle for the job next year.

Florida State has had their share of quarterback problems this season. Chris Rix has struggled and gave away to Adrian McPherson. McPherson is now dismissed from the team and Florida State is looking for a quarterback. Of course, FSU was hit by more stunning news Tuesday, when Rix was ruled ineligible for the Seminoles' bowl game against Georgia for missing a final exam. Fabian Walker and Wyatt Sexton are two quarterbacks that return to Tallahassee and you know the Seminoles would love to sign Leak.

Then there is Southern Cal. How hot are the Trojans right now? They are sizzling both on and off the field. Quarterback Carson Palmer just won the Heisman Trophy and Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow is one of the best in the business. Leak says that distance won't play a factor in his decision but this will certainly not help USC. The Leak family is a tight nit group.

This weekend, the top prospects from North Carolina take on the top prospects from South Carolina in the annual Shrine Bowl on Saturday. Leak is playing in this game and they are trying to set up a one-day official visit to Iowa, leaving Saturday from game. Leak wants to see Iowa and you know the Hawkeye coaches want their shot.

Either way, Leak is set on announcing on January 5th. That's why Iowa really wants him to visit this weekend. Where will he end up? My guess is Florida but I think Southern Cal is right there. If USC was closer than I would think it would be a toss up at this point.

But remember one thing, recruiting is unpredictable and the Leaks have not tipped their hat. Early on Tennessee was his leader and Florida sat at number two. Over the past two months, Leak has contended time and time again that he was open. He had great official visits to all four schools. I am sure he will like Iowa, given the chance he visits. Let's face it, all of these schools have their pros and cons.

Another thing to consider is what happened with his brother when he was in Chris's shoes several years ago. We all thought C.J. Leak, who was one of the top high school quarterback prospects in America, was ready to sign with Notre Dame on National Signing Day. In one of the biggest Signing Day surprises in recent memory, he inked with Wake Forest.

Anything can happen in recruiting and on January 5th, the Chris Leak recruiting story will come to an end.


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