June 10, 2009

With many contending, Leifheit talks timeline

Wilmington, N.C., offensive lineman T.J. Leifheit wrapped up his last day of school this week. Only one more year of high school for the talented trenchman and then he'll be on to play football at the collegiate level.

"It's good to finally be out for the summer," Leifheit said. "I'm talking to schools all the time. It's a good situation."

Leifheit will spend the summer working out and visiting schools. He says it's important to get ready for his final season of high school football.

Southern Cal, Florida, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee and Duke are all high on his list. He visited the Vols during Tennessee's spring practice and hopes to make a return trip to Knoxville later this summer.

"I'm working on getting back up there for a visit," Leifheit said. "I've been up once and I really enjoyed it a lot. I really liked the campus and town. The coaches were full of energy and running around all over the place. They are definitely up there."

The Vols offer early playing time due to very little depth along the offensive line. Having the chance to play as a true freshman is important to Leifheit.

"It's very important," Leifheit said. "That is my goal is to come in and play as a freshman. There is a real need there for linemen and that is a big plus."

Playing time is big for Leifheit, but it's not at the top of his priority list. Academics mean a lot to the Carolina lineman.

"The biggest thing I'm looking for is education," Leifheit said. "If I go somewhere and I get hurt and can't play football again, then I want to be somewhere I can get a good degree so I can have a life after football."

Leifheit (6-foot-7, 300 pounds) is a mountain of a young man. He is a road-grader for the Hoggard High run game on Friday nights.

"My biggest asset is my run-blocking," Leifheit said. "I love run-blocking and driving people into the ground. That's my favorite thing to do. There is always room for improvement in my game. It's a constant strive to be the best."

Leifheit will make his decision in October. That's due to early graduation so he'll have time to get his final transcripts ready, but still have time to take some official visits.

Rivals.com rates Leifheit as a 4-star offensive tackle.

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