2010 Intro: T.J. Leifheit

WILMINGTON, N.C. --- While unofficially visiting North Carolina in late November for the NC State game, T.J. Leifheit received his first scholarship offer.

"I sent them some film and they said they were going to check it out," Leifheit said. "The next week I went up, Coach [Sam] Pittman took me into his office and said we're going to offer you a scholarship."

Leifheit's most recent scholarship offer arrived late last week from Florida State.

"I talked to Coach [Rick] Trickett on the phone and he gave me an offer [Tuesday] night and said they'll be sending it out in the next couple of days," Leifheit said.

In between the UNC and FSU offers, Leifheit, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive tackle, has collected nine other offers – California, Duke, East Carolina, Maryland, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and Wake Forest.

"I've always wanted to play Division I-A football and I've always wanted the opportunity to play wherever I wanted," Leifheit said. "I think my hard work has paid off with all of these offers."

In addition to the NC State game, Leifheit was in Kenan Stadium for UNC's bouts with Boston College and Georgia Tech. He also attended two games at NC State (William & Mary and East Carolina) and South Carolina (Georgia and LSU).

"[Traveling on Saturdays] was definitely a lot to handle [during the season]," Leifheit said. "We had games at like Greenville Rose and didn't get back in until 1 in the morning. Grab something to eat, went home, get two-three hours of sleep, got up at about 5:30, and drove up to say South Carolina."

This spring, Leifheit has continued to make unofficial visits. He has attended junior days at Duke and NC State, as well as basketball games at both UNC and NC State. He plans to attended UNC's Junior Day on February 28 and the UNC-Duke basketball game at the Smith Center on March 8.

All of these trips will go a long way to helping Leifheit, who is a January enrollee, with his collegiate decision.

"I want to get as much info as I can as soon as possible," Leifheit said. "Because what I'd like to do is narrow my list down in the near future."

Leifheit plans to attend a spring practice session at all of the in-state schools, plus his top ten out-of-state schools. California is the only lock to make his out-of-state school travel list.

Following the spring, Leifheit will further narrow his list of options to a top ten overall.

Leifheit plans to attend several summer camps. The destinations will be chosen from his list of ten schools.

Before the end of the summer, Leifheit will cut his favorites list in half. Those five schools will receive an official visit.

In October, after concluding his official trips, Leifheit will make a verbal commitment.

"Education is probably the biggest thing I'm looking for," Leifheit said. "God forbid I get hurt, I don't want to be somewhere where I don't want a degree from – I want to be somewhere that will help me after I'm done playing football."

While he doesn't claim any favorites, Leifheit admits UNC is a strong contender.

"I'm really high on UNC right now," Leifheit said. "I really like the school. Coach Pittman and I really have a good relationship – I talk to him two to three times a week.'

UNC also has an unmatched advantage in Jon Cooper and Casey Barth. Both are former teammates of Leifheit and currently play for UNC.

"We're good friends," Leifheit said of Barth and Cooper. "We developed a good relationship when we were teammates. We talk on a regular basis. They're not recruiting me – just giving me some helpful tips."

Leifheit arrived at Hoggard as a sophomore after transferring from Topsail High.

"There was just some stuff going on there [at Topsail]," Leifheit said. "I thought it would be a better situation here [at Hoggard]."

Almost as soon as he arrived at Hoggard, Leifheit has started at left tackle.

"T.J. is just a big body that does a good job coming off the ball and plays with quick feet," Hoggard assistant coach Keith Wood said.

"We count on him to protect our quarterbacks blindside. Passing is a big part of our offense."

In Leifheit's first season at Hoggard, while playing alongside Cooper, the Vikings went undefeated and won the NCHSAA 4AA State Championship.

"It was unbelievable," Leifheit said. "It was an awesome experience going 15-0 and winning the state championship – especially since we didn't win very much at Topsail."

Hoggard will start a lefty at quarterback this fall. Thus, Leifheit could be moved to right tackle for his senior season.

T.J. Leifheit Profile

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