By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
Parents, send your children to the other room before reading this story. It might undo everything you have taught them about life.
Often, freshmen are judged by how they perform on the practice field. It is the primary way coaches develop enough trust in them to be able to insert them into high-pressure situations in games.
Tight end Jordan Leggett knows how the process works. He understands it. He even appreciates the importance of going hard in practice.
He is just not good at doing it.
“I’m a lazy person,” Leggett said matter-of-factly. “They’re not able to trust me because of my practice habits. But when it comes to game time, I know how to flip the switch and do what I have to do to help my team have the best opportunity to win.”
Leggett has seen limited action this season after being the flavor of the month during spring practice. His combination of skill and athleticism thrust him into the mix at tight end, even as a true freshman that enrolled in classes last spring.
Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris knew Leggett could help the Tigers, but they have hesitated to put him into games because he has not been consistent on the practice field. The Florida native admits his efforts have been uneven during the week, but he views his approach in a different way.
“My laziness, it’s just me,” Leggett said. “It’s a personality type of thing. I’m very nonchalant about things. I can change it in the near future. I’ve just got to work on it.”
Leggett is a self-described gamer. No matter what practice looks like, to him, the ability to perform and help the team win during games is his strength. It turns out his coaches agree.
“They always say, ‘Practice makes perfect,’” Leggett said. “But I’m not that much of a practicer. I’m a playmaker. I go out there and make plays when I’m called upon.”
“He’s a young man who will continue to mature, both mentally and physically,” Morris said. “This is a game in which you have to bring it every day, even at practice. That’s our challenge with him. But he’s unbelievably talented.”
Leggett points out that he only had one catch against Maryland—a second-quarter touchdown—and that he continued to get repetitions on the field due to his blocking, which was an area of concern coming into the season. He uses it as a way to justify his approach, citing his improvement in that area during competition.
When he is actually engaged at practice, Leggett says he watches fellow tight end Sam Cooper—his primary competitor for snaps at the moment. Cooper is known as an adept blocker, so Leggett attempts to improve by taking mental notes as he watches the junior during workouts.
“He’s a veteran at my position,” Leggett said. “I watch him at practice to see what he does and see what I do.”
Morris says the offense includes specific plays to get Leggett more involved. It appears the freshman will be an integral part of the plan for the Tigers at tight end moving forward.
“He’s shown some promise,” Morris said. “We all know he can catch the football, and he can run like the wind.”
Leggett promises he will practice harder this week given his newfound role within the offense. Whether a more conventional approach works or not remains to be seen, but one thing is certain.
A hard-working Leggett is a player you can talk to your children about.