It was the A.C. Leonard show at South Florida on Saturday and Sunday. He created an early buzz by his performance on Saturday afternoon and by the end of the day on Sunday, he had people hanging around to watch him after their teams had been beat out.
He was that good.
It was really an easy decision when it came down to it to name him the Most Valuable Player. There were many elite prospects at USF this weekend, but there was nobody out there that meant more to his team than Leonard.
The athlete out of Interlachen (FL) really put on a show all weekend and ended up catching two touchdown passes in the championship game where Pro Impact defeated the heavily favored South Express squad 26-22.
That was after he caught three in the semi-finals against another team everyone picked them to lose to in Big Timers.
He put the team on his back and took them to the championship.
“I just came here to play and do what I do,” said Leonard. “I didn’t have any expectations really, I just wanted to come here, play hard, and I thought I would do okay.”
The Florida commitment didn’t just show up and expect to dominate. He knows to be great that you have to do some things off the field to prepare yourself. He has done that this off-season and he thinks that was the key for his success.
“I just go to work every day, I train every day, and I just work hard each day after school. It paid off for me out here this time. I do whatever I can to get better and I work hard at it. I don’t want to be just okay, so I work hard to be the best I can be.”
Although he dominated throughout this event, the 6-foot-2, 230 pound future tight end at UF was about as humble as they come, but he knew what he had to do if he wanted to hold the trophy at the end of the day.
“I felt if we wanted to win, I needed to take that leadership role. I am not about screaming and things like that, but I think me playing hard really helped the team play hard too. We played hard, we wanted it, and that is a big part of us winning.”
Pro Impact stunned many when they held on late to defeat The South Express, but their team chemistry was about as good as there was in Tampa. William Union picked off a pass thrown by Teddy Bridgewater with just seconds remaining and that sealed the deal in the championship game.
So Leonard did have some help, but you can ask anyone who was there, if Leonard wasn’t on that team, they would not have won the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7on7 at USF this weekend.
Down deep, Leonard probably knows that too.
When asked if anyone even slowed him down a bit over the weekend, he did not hesitate when saying, “no sir, not really.”
He should have said that with a little more authority because he wasn’t slowed down one bit on Saturday or Sunday. That combined with him leading Pro Impact to the championship is why Scout named him the M.V.P. of this event.
Chad Simmons is the Recruiting Manager for the South Region and he can be reached at ChadSimmons@Scout.com.