Leifheit Keeping Options Open

With 10 offers to his credit, John T Hoggard HS (Wilmington, NC) offensive lineman T.J. Leifheit is quickly becoming one of the top o-line commodities in the state of North Carolina. One of those offers if from the South Carolina as the Gamecocks have a huge need along the offensive line for the class of 2010. Read inside as Leifheit shares with GamecockAnthem.com his thoughts on the USC program.

The 6'7", 300-pound Leifheit has offers from South Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, Duke, ECU, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Maryland, California and Texas Tech. The aggressive tackle is also receiving heavy interest from UCLA, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Alabama and Georgia.

On top of that Leifheit has sent his film out to around 25 other programs. He says that every program that has seen his new film has offered. With so much interest, he hasn't begun to narrow things down yet.

"As of right now it's pretty much wide open," Leifheit says. "I want to narrow my list down in the near future, but right now it's pretty much wide open with all the schools. I want to get out and see what everybody has to offer."

Leifheit has already been to Duke's junior day and attended the UNC vs Virginia basketball game recently. He has also visited Wake Forest and will be at NC State and UNC again in the next few weeks.

"Actually I've been to the University of South Carolina four or five times already," he said. "I've been down there and checked everything out and met the coaches. I'd like to get down again, because they've got a new staff and I want to meet the new offensive line coach and the new offensive coordinator, the new strength coach, that's something I'd like to do, but I've got to see how it fits into my schedule."

Leifheit is being recruited by USC defensive line coach Brad Lawing. While Leifheit got to know Lawing last summer, he says he hasn't gotten to know new offensive line coach Eric Wolford yet.

Leifheit has positive things to say about the USC program.

"I really, really liked it down there. The facilities are great. It's the SEC, the best conference in college football. You get tons of TV exposure. You get to play against some of the best guys in college football, but have a chance to play on Sundays. And that's definitely a big factor, the SEC."

Though he grew up in North Carolina, Leifheit says he doesn't have an in-state favorite he grew up pulling for. He actually grew up an Ohio State fan.

Leifheit, who is being recruited as a left tackle, described what he is looking for in the program he eventually chooses.

"I'm definitely looking at the academics, because if I go somewhere and God-forbid I get hurt I want to be somewhere where I would want to get a degree from you know not somewhere that is great in football and doesn't have what I'm looking for education-wise. That's definitely a big thing. And then thefootball tradition there, the coaches and then the facilities."

Leifheit, who prides himself in being an aggressive, hard-working blocker, plans to graduate early. He believes that will help him move into a starting line-up quickly.

"From the feedback I'm getting it's going to be a big, big help. It's going to give me a leg up on all the guys that sign then come in in the summer. Just getting in for spring practice, getting used to the academics, living by yourself, just getting ready for the upcoming season, a lot of coaches say that will be a huge benefit for me to come in early. A lot of schools have said they want me to come in and compete for a starting job as a freshman."

While he doesn't have a list of favorites, he does have a plan.

"Whoever brings me a scholarship I'm definitely going to check out. That's the way I'm looking at it right now. I'm graduating in January so my plan is to narrow down my list to my top 10 schools and then go check out spring ball at all of those places."

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