football Edit

LB Kadeem Leonard commits to UCF: 'They made me feel wanted'

Kadeem Leonard, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound linebacker from Fairmont, N.C., announced his commitment to UCF on Wednesday.

"I'd been thinking a lot about UCF the last couple weeks," Leonard said. "I was thinking I was ready to commit. I just was waiting to see what my mom had to say. I really like the winning culture at UCF. They made me really feel like I was wanted. I saw how packed their stadium gets. I really liked that."

Leonard was recruited by defensive coordinator Randy Shannon and defensive assistant Ian Scott. He got the offer on April 16.

"They said they liked how versatile I am," Leonard said. "I can play a lot of positions and I can run."

While his announcement came on Wednesday, he made the commitment call to UCF on Tuesday. Other schools he strongly considered were Army and Howard.

"I texted Coach Shannon and we FaceTimed," Leonard said. "We FaceTimed the whole defensive staff and Coach (Josh) Heupel. They all seemed pretty excited."

As a junior, Leonard tallied 55 tackles, four sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered two.

What does he think is his best trait playing linebacker?

"Being physical, for sure," Leonard said.

Leonard said he's been playing football his entire life. He first started flag, then eventually transitioned to tackle. He was a running back and wide receiver in his younger days, then started playing linebacker as a sophomore.

Growing up, he said his favorite football players were Drew Brees and Ray Lewis.

He's considering being an early graduate so he can enroll at UCF next January. Business will be his likely major.

"My goal is to lead the conference in tackles," Leonard said of his future UCF goals.

Leonard is UCF's 11th overall commitment in the 2021 class and the second from a linebacker.


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