Lance Leggett wants to be an elite receiver and he knows the only way to get there is through hard work. He has progressed quite a bit in his development as a receiver in the past year, which should help him have a great 2005 season.
"I am a lot more comfortable this year because I have learned a lot from coach C.J.," Leggett said. "When I first got here I was kind of just got thrown in to play from the beginning. Now I have had a whole year to learn."
In the spring Leggett was able to become a student of the game watching as much film as he could.
"The spring helped me out a lot because I was able to look at a lot of film," Leggett said. "I was able to study a lot of our opponents including the guys I go up against in practice every day--they are the hardest ones we face."
He has also worked with coach C.J. about not 'double catching'. Double catching is a term used when the ball hits a receivers hands twice slightly before catching the ball. Leggett attributes some of his double catching trouble to not catching enough balls in the spring since he spent so much time in the film room.
Leggett also improved his strength in the off-season with coach Swasey. It was something he knew he needed to improve upon from day one.
"One little bump isn't going to mess me up like last year," Leggett said. "I feel like it won't get me off my route."
Leggett gets a chance to improve his game everyday in practice going up against cornerbacks Kelly Jennings, Devin Hester, and Marcus Maxey.
"The thing about them is that they are all fast," Leggett said. "I'm not putting down other teams, but they aren't as fast as our guys. So you have to use the right technique against them."
LEADERSHIP A KEY
Leggett is a quiet guy who leads by his actions and by example. Last year there were a number of players who preferred to lead that way, but this year has a different tone.
"Last year we had really just one leader--Antrel Rolle," Leggett said. "He was good, but he couldn't do it all. We need more guys to step up and I think we have that this year."
"The seniors this year will show us how to do things by example and tell us," Leggett said.
One of the senior leaders who caught Leggett's attention when he arrived on campus was Jennings. Jennings is one of the most well-respected players on the team and also one of the most knowledgeable about the game.
"Kelly is special," Leggett said. "When I first got here he was a bit different than everyone else. He is a leader. If we need any advice on another defensive back he will help us out and tell us what we should do."
Going up against Jennings, who is extremely patient, is a challenge for Leggett.
Another special player in Leggett's eyes is quarterback Kyle Wright.
"He makes a lot of great throws," Leggett said. "He has a strong arm and knows his reads. He will go through each person to see who is open. He knows the game very well."
According to Leggett everyone does look up to Kyle because of "the way he carries himself".
"I think the quarterback should have bond with everybody on the team, not just the recievers," Leggett said. "Everybody looks up to the quarterback to be the captain of the team."
2005 MIAMI WIDE RECEIVERS
The wide receivers will be feature four top-notch quality players in Ryan Moore, Sinorice Moss, Lance Leggett, and Darnell Jenkins. All four players possess game-breaking ability and should be a solid unit for Wright.
JR #85 Ryan Moore 54 rec 741 yds 5 TD SR #83 Sinorice Moss 31 rec 492 yds 3 TD SO #9 Lance Leggett 17 rec 349 yds 4 TD JR #8 Darnell Jenkins 24 rec 250 yds 2 TD JR #80 Akieem Jolla 20 rec 219 yds 2 TD SO #20 Terrell Walden no stats FR #87 Khalil Jones no statsThe seven receivers have unique personalities, but are very similar in a lot of ways. Six of them hail from the state of Florida and Moss, Jenkins, Walden, and Jones all grew up in Miami. Jolla is from Louisiana.
"Everybody gets along well," Leggett said. "They are like big brothers to me."
Last year Hurricane receivers caught 19 touchdowns, but eight of them were to Roscoe Parrish who has departed to the NFL. It will be up to Leggett and company to improve on the 19 from a year ago.
"It will be hard to stop us," Leggett said.
Leggett took time to assess the strengths of each receiver:
On Moss - "He is like lightning. He doesn't even have to do a move off the ball--he can just run by people."
On Moore - "Ryan is just real smooth. He can do everything. He looks the ball in well and has excellent hands."
On Jolla - "Jolla is fast--real fast."
On Jenkins - "He is real fast too. He gives you one move off the ball and he is gone."
On Walden - "Terrell is real fast also."
On Jones - "Khalil is a big, strong reciever."
REGGIE & SANTANA II IN 2007
Leggett and Jones both are part of the 2004 signing class. Jones graduated from Northwestern High School in Miami whereas Leggett spent his last two years of high school at Grace Prep in Arlington, Texas.
Jones spent the 2004 season as a redshirt and got reps on the scout team while Leggett was thrown into the mix. The two players get along very well and Leggett is excited about their future together.
"Khalil and I are real close," Leggett said. "Even though C.J. is on us a lot, he wants us to be like Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne. I feel like we are going to be like that when everybody is gone and we are the leaders."
"We are going to be something special. We are going to be like Reggie and Santana."
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org