Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola defensive end Derrick LeBlanc is far from an ordinary class of 2023 recruit.
A 6-foot-5, 230-pound phenom finishing up his freshman year of high school, LeBlanc is seeing major scholarship offers roll in on a regular basis and has already collected two dozen of them to date.
While he is in an unusual and enviable spot as a coveted young recruit, LeBlanc is trying not to let all of the early attention and college interest go to his head.
“For me, I just want to stay humble because I know a lot of people, they get big-headed with all this stuff,” he said. “But I just want to be humble. I thank God for everything. My coaches always tell me, ‘Don’t get big-headed over this stuff. Just do great things, be great and stay humble.’”
Clemson typically doesn’t offer recruits as young as LeBlanc, though the Tigers are showing interest and he is very interested in the program as well.
LeBlanc said he has spoken with Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee through social media and has also talked to incoming running back Demarkcus Bowman, and he is eager to check out the school for himself so he can see what all the hype is about.
“I want to meet Dabo,” he said. “(I’ve heard) Clemson recruits itself, it’s a great place to be at, so I just want to experience that. I’ve been talking with the players like Bresee.”
LeBlanc had actually set a date to visit Clemson on March 23 but couldn’t make the trip after the NCAA suspended all in-person recruiting earlier that month due to the coronavirus. He was also planning to participate in the Dabo Swinney Camp this summer, but it has been cancelled as well.
“I was really excited to come over there,” he said. “I like when they say ‘All In,’ they’re really All In. They don’t just throw offers out there like the other schools. They really want to build a relationship with you and all that. That’s what makes me feel like yeah, this school is really great and it’s a great place to be at. They win championships all the time, always in bowl games. You can’t beat that. That’s awesome.”
Swinney has made a great impression on LeBlanc even though the two have never met.
“I watch the Clemson Vlog a lot, and he’s a cool guy,” LeBlanc said. “He’s all about family. If my family met him, they would love him because my parents love family and all that. He just fits me as a person. I like that.”
Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota, Kentucky, Arizona State and Boston College have all offered LeBlanc this month alone, joining Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida State, Miami and Southern Cal among others on his offer list.
Although LeBlanc’s recruitment is in the infant stages, several schools have begun standing out to him to this point.
“Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, Texas A&M, Auburn and Alabama,” he said. “Those are the main schools that I’ve liked a while in my head.”
The Tigers would have staying power in LeBlanc’s recruitment and be in the mix until the end, assuming they eventually offer.
“They’re going to be up there,” he said. “When my final decision comes, they’re going to be up there.”
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