Florida could extend an offer over the spring

Mar 26, 2019 | 0 comments

Cocoa (Fla.) High School junior Richie Leonard‍ is currently committed to Kentucky, but since making that pledge the three-star guard has garnered offers from Florida State, Miami, Oregon, Pitt, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Another program – Florida – is still in fact finding mode when it comes to offering him.

This past weekend Leonard traveled to Gainesville to see Florida once again.

“I’ve been to a couple games,” Leonard said. “Overall, I’ve been like three or four times.”

Although he does not yet hold an offer from Florida, Leonard keeps in contact with the Gators' staff, who he told Inside the Gators extended the invitation to attend Saturday’s practice.

On that trip, he was able to build upon his connection with Florida offensive line coach John Hevesy.

“I got a pretty good relationship with ‘Hev,’” as he affectionately referred to Coach Hevesy. “We've talked a couple times.”

After the visit, Leonard shared what Hevesy had to say to him about earning an offer from Florida.

“[Hevesy] really, really loved my film… my athleticism. Coach Hevesy’s thing is he just likes to watch a guy practice first so he’ll be down [at Cocoa High] early in the spring.”

Cocoa with a population of under 20,000, is a pretty tight knit community, where everybody pretty much knows everybody else. That is especially the case when it comes to athletes at the high school.

Former Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor will both skip their senior years to chase their dreams of being in the NFL. They are also both former Cocoa High School Tigers.

Gardner-Johnson is projected to be drafted anywhere from the second to fourth rounds. It will be a shock if Taylor falls out of the first. As a fellow offensive lineman and a good friend of 'Waany' Leonard says that he is one of the reasons that the Gators are still “potentially” in his mix.

“I look up to [Taylor]. How could you not? He’s someone who was in the exact same shoes I was in a couple years ago and now he’s getting ready to go make millions. He was the reason why I played football at Cocoa High.”

Leonard also revealed how his relationship with Taylor formed four years prior to him becoming the 6-foot-4, 320-lb gentle giant he is now.

“He came up to me one day in eighth grade, grabbed me, and said ‘do you wanna go D1?’ and I said ‘absolutely’ and he said ‘well you need to come play football [at Cocoa] then ‘cause people are handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars [in] scholarships to big guys like you and me’ and the rest is history.”

He remained coy about whether or not Taylor has spoken to him about the prospect of becoming a Florida Gator, though because as of now, Leonard is planning to stick with his Kentucky pledge and sign early.

However, he told Inside the Gators that he “is still taking visits.”

Tags: Sport

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