The focus has remained the same. If a school hasn’t offered Asheville (NC) defensive end Andrew Leota, he isn’t giving that school much of a look.
For now, only three schools have offered Leota: Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Duke. Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Boston College have reached out. But until an offer comes, Leota isn’t concerned.
“One of the main factors for me is academic support,” Leota said. “And the graduation rate. My family stresses that school comes first. The three schools I have, they all play each other, so I don’t look at the pros and cons, I just look at what they have to offer.”
Leota was on hand at four games this fall --- and each of them involved the Hokies. He was at Virginia Tech in September for its win over East Carolina, but also saw the Battle at Bristol and the Hokies’ games at North Carolina and Duke.
That’s also not counting games when Leota tagged along with his older brother, Pete Leota, now at South Carolina, during Pete’s recruitment in the 2016 class.
“I love Virginia Tech,” Andrew said. “I’ve always thought I’m most comfortable there. When Pete was getting recruited, Virginia Tech was a top school. So I’ve probably been to Virginia Tech the most.”
Much of the youngest Leota’s interest also stems from his relationship with a pair of coaches. Special teams coordinator James Shibest and assistant coach Charley Wiles have both recruited Leota and made him feel like a top priority.
“Our relationship, we’ve been talking a lot, but not a lot since my phone broke,” Andrew said. “But every time I go there, our relationship gets stronger. It feels like a second home. I feel really comfortable around them. I used to be nervous in camp and when I visited in the summer, but the more I’m around them, the better.”
The timing of the Hokies’ recruitment has also helped. But they’ve also built on that head start.
“It’s just the way I got to know ‘em,” Andrew said. “They were my first offer as well. I’ve always respected the first, the one who gave me the first chance. I feel like Coach Wiles has worked with me a lot. I got to feel what it would be like to be a player for him.”
The next school to offer was North Carolina. And Andrew said the Tar Heels have also impressed him to this point.
“I like Carolina a lot,” he said. “Coach Chad Scott, he’s the one recruiting me. He’s come down and visited me a lot. When I went there, they said I improved a lot since the ‘Freak Show’ camp. I went as a freshman and I won some one on ones, but I wasn’t ready. I’ve improved a lot they said, since then. They said they like my get-off.”
The Blue Devils have also gotten a look from Andrew Leota to this point. And they’ve gotten his attention for a few reasons, mostly off the field.
“My family loves Duke,” Leota said. “The education is just top-notch. A Duke degree, you can go really far with that. They’re improving a lot. Coach (David) Cutlclife gets the most out of his players and he’s a great man. I have a lot of respect for him and the D-line coach. I felt really comfortable with those coaches. It’s a hard decision. I can’t say who’s number one, but those three are the main ones.”
Leota said he’s also leaned on his brother for advice. The Gamecocks aren’t in play, having not offered, but could potentially be one.
“Pete’s letting me do my own thing, really,” Andrew said. “He’s been working on it. He wants me to come to South Carolina with him, but I wanna start my own path, not really be under his shadows.”
The youngest Leota said he plans on visiting Virginia Tech January 15 for junior day and potentially a junior day in March at North Carolina. But aside from that, it’s waiting to see who will earn his attention.
“I’ve kinda thought about waiting around,” Andrew said. “Just let everything happen. I have no idea what my commit date will be. But I’ll probably figure it out soon. It’ll probably be late or after next season, really.”