Chris Leak Wins MVP, Picks Gators

It was a red-letter day for Charlotte Independence all-American quarterback Chris Leak who led the East team to a 47-3 victory in the U.S. Army National High School All-Star Game, captured the game's MVP trophy and announced his decision to attend Florida.

Leak, who connected on 7-of-12 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns, announced he had chosen Florida over Florida State and Iowa at intermission of the contest which was broadcast nationally by ESPN 2. Leak had been heavily linked to Tennessee ever since his older brother C.J. Leak transferred from Wake Forest to UT two years ago. However that connection turned into a curse when Casey Clausen went down with an injury before the Georgia game and true freshman James Banks took over for C.J. after two series of that SEC showdown, attended by both Chris and his father, Curtis. Chris expressed his distrust of the Tennessee coaching staff for that decision in a diary he was penning for and later questioned whether his brother had been given a fair shot at competing for the starting job. Once the relationship became strained, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer made it known that the Vols weren't recruiting Chris any longer and a reconciliation never occurred. By choosing Florida, Leak assured that while he won't realize the dream of playing college football with his brother, he will, in all likelihood, face him in competition over the next two seasons. With junior signal caller Rex Grossman announcing he would forego his senior season at Florida Leak stands a good chance of winning the starting job next season. Ironically, his chief competition is Ingle Martin of Nashville MBA who picked the Gators over the Vols in 2001. Martin's parents are UT grads. A bright spot for the Vols from the National All-Star game was the play of wide receiver Jayson Swain of Huntsville Grissom High School. Swain caught two touchdown passes in the contest including one from Leak. Swain committed to Tennessee last month over offers from Georgia and Michigan. Two other receivers the Vols are pursuing that played in the game were Steve Smith of California and Bret Smith from Warren, Arkansas.

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