Top flight quarterback Chris Leak from Charlotte (NC) is one of the most sought after prospects in the entire nation. Trojan fans were pleasantly surprised last week when word got out that the blue chipper had legitimate interest in USC. Here's the latest scoop on Leak's rumored interest and how his senior season is progressing.
There doesn't seem to be anything that Leak (6'1, 210 lbs) can't do well at quarterback. With a tremendous arm and great athleticism, he's had his way with high school defenses since his sophomore year, and with two championships already under his belt, he's also proven his worth as a leader on the field. In his first two seasons as starting quarterback at Independence High School, he threw for a phenomenal 9,885 yards and 108 touchdown passes. Through the first nine games of this season, his stats are just as gaudy and things are looking good for a three-peat, "We're 9-0 so far," he explained. "I have 3,225 yards and 39 touchdowns. Last week we beat Central Cabarrus 56-6. I threw for 423 yards and 7 touchdowns."
In order to get everything they can out of him, the Independence coaches have designed the offense around Leak, allowing him to act as the centerpiece, "Our offense is spread out, with four or five receivers, and I'm in the Shotgun," he said. "We throw the ball a majority of the time. I guess you could say I'm a Donavon McNabb type of quarterback. I can run the ball also. The quarterback can sit in the pocket and read the defense, but he can also move and make plays."
Schools from across the country have come calling and this is reflected in Leak's list of favorites, "I've been hearing from schools from all different conferences, like the ACC, SEC, Big-10, Big-12, Pac-10, mainly those conferences. Right now, Tennessee and Florida are my leaders over Notre Dame, USC, Penn State, Texas, NC State, Iowa, and Florida State." In discussing his priorities in choosing a school, academics top his list, "The education, that's the main part, and how I get along with everybody. Also, my academic advisors and everything, so I take care of my books, because that's really the main thing, and where I'll have the best chance of having a great college career."
One point of interest is the fact that Leak's brother, C.J., was also a top rated quarterback coming out of high school who received his fair share of recruiting attention. Now at Tennessee, he offers some appreciated guidance to his younger brother, as Chris explained, "My brother has helped me a lot because he was highly touted too and he's already been through the whole thing. He speaks to me and helps me a lot with how to take it day by day and to just be prepared for it mainly."
While the Trojans offered Leak months ago, there were never any reports of mutual interest until last week. So what is it about USC that suddenly has the North Carolina star looking west? "I mean, the offense is very similar to what we run here at my high school," he explained. "Coach Pete Carroll is a great guy, an honest guy to be around, and Norm Chow, he has a great offensive mind. I talk to most of the coaches on the phone, like Coach Carroll and all of the guys. Mainly I just let them know that I'm interested in the program and that I do plan on taking an official there. Nothing is written down or official. We're still working on it. We're planning on doing it the week they play Notre Dame. That's what we're shooting for, but nothing is official." Leak has also been keeping a close eye on the Trojans on TV this season, "I've been trying to catch as many games as I can," he said. "I caught the highlights of the last game on ESPN. They have a great thing going. Carson is doing a great job, and they have that receiver, the freshman, he's doing a great job. They have a lot of things going in their direction. I actually got a chance to meet with Carson at the Elite 11 camp. He's a great guy. He said he really likes it up there and everything."
Leak, who has already visited Florida, plans on taking officials to Notre Dame and Texas in addition to USC, and he still has one more open that he'd like to take, although he's undecided on who that visit might go to. He's hoping to have taken all of those before early January, when he's tentatively scheduled to announce his decision, "I'm going to make my decision on January 5th at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. I'm going to try to. I mean, that's the plan, but you never know. It would be pretty good if I could get all my visits in there."