Former Starkville High star is back in the recruiting talent pool

After an All-Star senior season at Starkville High School, wide receiver Raphael Leonard signed on with Florida Atlantic. After a season in south Florida, Leonard make the decision to return home to his native Mississippi and enroll at East Mississippi Community College. In search of four year options, Leonard attended Mississippi State's Big Dawg camp last Friday.

"It was real fun," Leonard said of the Friday Night under the lights. "I liked it a lot. I came out here and competed. I just tried to show my skills a little bit."

With what should be an exciting season in the East Mississippi Lion offense ahead of him, Leonard is looking to play his way into some college options. To date, the big play pass catcher holds just one offer, but it is simply a matter of time before new options arrive. The hometown Bulldogs have shown some interest as of late.

"So far I just have Troy," Leonard said. "I have been talking some with Mississippi State. Coach (Billy) Gonzales said that he was really impressed with me. They wanted me to come to camp, so they could see me run. They haven't had any good film of me since my senior year of high school."

On Friday night, Leonard did his best to put his best foot forward in hopes of taking some steps up the Mississippi State recruiting board. It appears that the rising sophomore was pleased with his showing.

"I was happy with myself," Leonard said. "I feel like I did good in drills. I got one rep in the one-on-ones. I caught the ball and I beat the DB, so I feel like I did a good job."

Once the weekend was over, Leonard was on the road back to Scooba, Mississippi to finish up his summer chores and begin the transition from pre-season to the regular season. The Lions are expected to contend for everything that the NJCAA has to offer.

"I just have to finish up this last week of summer school," Leonard said. "I am just trying to get stronger, gain some weight and get better everyday. I want to do my part and help the team win a National Championship."

Leonard played as a true freshman at FAU in largely a special teams role, but the his future involves catching passes. As a senior at Starkville High, Leonard caught 65 passes for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns on his way to All-State honors.


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