Rutgers Visit Impresses Leonard

Middletown (Md.) TE/DE Ricky Leonard visited Rutgers with his family Friday and learned a lot about the first BCS school that issued him a scholarship offer. Leonard spoke with after leaving campus about the impression the visit left and where Rutgers stands.

Should Ricky Leonard choose Rutgers as his college destination, he would have the choice to play either tight end or defensive end for the Scarlet Knights. A defense-first player, any questions about where he would prefer to play were answered Friday in a meeting with defensive line coach Jim Panagos.

Pass rushers are at a premium in recruiting and Leonard said his time spent with Panagos and head coach Kyle Flood has Rutgers "toward the top" of his college choices.

"Their defensive line coach is very enthusiastic about his defense and loves the game of football," said Leonard, who holds a Rutgers verbal offer. "He left a really good impression. He knows what he's talking about. He's one of the top coaches in the nation for defensive line. I learned some very helpful stuff just meeting with him and watching film."

Leonard and his family received star treatment on an unofficial visit to the Rutgers campus and saw every facet of the university during a day-long trip. After not being overly impressed on a visit as a junior, Leonard said his return trip greatly improved his thoughts on the overall campus.

"They definitely stand toward the top right now," Leonard said. "I like that it's close. My family likes it a lot. They have great academics."

Before leaving, Leonard and his family spend 30 minutes alone with Flood, who answered all of their questions and explained the importance of top-end pass rushers and impact defenders for their soon-to-be Big Ten program.

"It opened my eyes a lot more," Leonard said. "I learned a lot and am just really happy with what I saw from Rutgers."

Leonard met with multiple members of the Rutgers defense and left the visit with a high-level opinion of the school.

"They said they loved the atmosphere," Leonard said. "They're working hard but said they loved being at Rutgers."

Leonard holds verbal offers from Maryland and Mississippi. He will visit Ole Miss next week, he said, and remains high on the Terrapins as an in-state option.

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