Arizona Western defensive end Matt Leo is currently committed to Arizona, but has not closed the door on other programs.

Mississippi State coaches have worked hard this recruiting cycle to secure the commitments of some talented defensive lineman to replace a handful of seniors who will leave the program after the team's appearance in the St. Petersburg Bowl later this month. One of the more recent targets to receive an offer from the Bulldogs is Arizona Western defensive end Matt Leo.

Matt Leo has a unique story. Unlike most of his American football peers, Leo did not have the benefit of a childhood playing football. Growing up in Australia, the 6-7, 275 pounder could only dream of the opportunities that were available in the United States.

As fate would have it, the talented defensive lineman met the right person to help him make his major college football dreams come true.

"I was actually working a a plumber," Leo said with a laugh. "I was just doing my job and one of the guys I was working with knew a guy who helped Australian players get scouted. He knew how to help guys get to Division II and into some junior colleges. I had always wanted to play football in America, so I put together a combine tape and sent it along and here I am."

Leo landed at Arizona Western where he would begin to learn the fundamentals of football. While he had a working knowledge of the game, the time in junior college allowed him to mature and gain an educational experience. 

With offers from Arizona, Central Florida, Hawaii, Iowa State, Kansas, Mississippi State, Missouri and Oklahoma, it is obvious that Leo's American gamble paid off.

Earlier this year, Arizona secured Leo's verbal commitment, but other programs remain in pursuit. Multiple programs, including Mississippi State, have invited the giant from down under to take an official visit this weekend.

"Right now, I am focused on my academic work," Leo said. "We're taking finals this week and if I don't take care of all of this then I won't be going anywhere at the end of this year. Once I get done with all of my finals this week, then I am going to make a decision about if I am going to visit anywhere or not.

"I guess sometime around Thursday, I will make a decision about visiting this weekend. I am just trying to keep all of my focus on my academics right now."

Leo still considers himself committed to Arizona, but admits that a final decision may not come until next week when the signing period opens on December 14th. 

"I am looking for a team and a coach that can teach me the things that I need to be a great football player,' Leo said. "All I can really bring right now is the fact that I will work my tail off. I haven't had the coaching that a lot of other players have had since I grew up in Australia. Whichever coach wants to really take a chance on me and show me the things that I need to know, I will reward him with all that I have."


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