Nathan Leacock didn’t get a chance to visit out-of-state schools before heading to Tennessee in mid-April to watch the Vols’ final spring scrimmage. With the help of a second trip to Knoxville last month, they finally sold him on the idea of playing in the SEC rather than staying close to home.
The wide receiver for the class of 2023 from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, announced Friday afternoon that he has committed to Tennessee, giving the Vols a coveted receiver with impressive size and speed. to pair with a five-star quarterback commitment. Nicholas Yamaleava. Leacock chose Tennessee over NC State, North Carolina and Michigan in a ceremony at his school.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Leacock became the third possible wide receiver in the Vols class and gave them their seventh commitment in the class of 2023 since July 1. Michigan and North Carolina also hosted him on official visits last month ahead of his trip. in Tennessee the weekend of June 24 during his last official visit.
“One big thing I love about them is the atmosphere and the area because once you’re in school you’re going to be playing football most of the time,” Leacock told GoVols247 before posting. publicly reveal its decision. “But sometimes you want to explore the area and see the city and everything, and I really like the area.
“I like that it also has a small-town look but a bit of a big-city feel — kind of like where I’m from in North Carolina, Raleigh, the same kind of feel. And developing a good relationship with the coaching staff, Coach Heup is one of the most energetic and, I would say, family-type coaches,” added Leacock, referring to the Tennessee coach. Josh Heupel.
“…They have my field of study – the degree I want to do, which looks pretty good – and, from a football point of view, it’s in the SEC, so you play the best competition. “
Leacock also said it’s “a great thing” that he’s developed “a good relationship with the committed quarterback in my class,” referring to Yamaleava, 247Sports’ No. 3 prospect in the 2023 class.
Yamaleava has personally been involved in recruiting Leacock for the Flights over the past few months. They spent time together last month at the Overtime OT7 event in Las Vegas and again during their official visits to Tennessee less than a month ago, and Leacock said he expects ” fit in well” with Yamaleava.
Leacock said his relationship with Iamaleava was “a bit” of a factor in his decision, “because when you come to a school, one of the biggest relationships you want to have outside of coaching, you want to have a good relationship with the quarterback.
“At the end of the day, it’s the coaches who decide. But he’s the one putting the ball in your hands,” added Leacock, who is ranked the 591st overall prospect and 77th wide receiver in the 2023 class and the 19th rising North Carolina State senior, according to the 247Sports Composite generated by the industry.
“He told me that we could work really well together and that he liked my style of play. And, obviously, I saw him play when we went to Las Vegas, and I liked that. I also love the way he plays.
Tennessee extended an offer to Leacock in November, giving him his fourth overall offer at the time, but he did not visit the Vols until heading to Knoxville on April 13-14 for their final scrimmage of the spring. He said his first visit there helped Tennessee become a strong contender.
“Even after the first visit, I’d say they were one of the top contenders because it was the first visit I’ve actually had (take) that was out of state, and I really liked it the facilities and how much money they put into their program and stuff like that,” he said. “Just coming back the second time was really just seeing the people and the area.
“That second visit was actually even more, because I got to see the city outside of college, I got to see the other recruits that were coming into my class, I got to see the players that were already there,” Leacock said, referring to his official visit to Knoxville nearly a month ago.
Leacock said his relationship with the Tennessee freshman wide receivers coach Kelsey Popewho has kept in frequent contact with him over the past few months, has also made him comfortable with the Flights.
“I feel like Coach Pope is a guy who, since he’s not too old, can kind of relate to the kind of teenage type feeling, because he was right there” , said Leacock. “He’s not too far (far) from that, and I like that. I feel like he’s someone I can talk to if I have problems outside of football. But I also feel like he can get serious, and he knows when it’s time to work, and he can really develop me as a receiver.
While Leacock plans to graduate in December and arrive in Tennessee in January as the first registrant, he said the Vols also told him he could compete for early playing time at wide receiver.
“(Pope) said to me, ‘We have receivers that are big, but they’re not fast. And we have fast receivers, and they’re not big. And he said, “You kind of have those two things, and I really feel like we can develop you,” Leacock said.
“With their offense, when I come in, there will be three receivers there who will be above me right now. But the way they’re handling their offense, they’re rotating into receivers a lot, and I like that – that I don’t just walk in and automatically get a spot, and then I don’t really have time to develop and improve and earn my spot.