Clemson signee Tristan Leigh had a difficult decision to make after the fall high school football season in the state of Virginia was delayed until this spring – either play his senior season, or skip it and get a head start on his career at the next level.
Leigh, a five-star offensive lineman from Robinson High in Fairfax, Va., signed with the Tigers in December and is scheduled to enroll in June.
Despite the fact he will be arriving on campus this summer to start his college career, and fully aware of the risks regarding potential injury and the COVID-19 pandemic, Leigh chose to play his final season of high school football anyway and suit up with his teammates – including his younger brother, Aidan – one more time this spring.
“I had a lot of time to sit down and think about it, and it was a really tough decision for me,” Leigh told ABC7/WJLA-TV sports anchor Scott Abraham. “But at the end it really came down to what I love doing, which is playing football with my guys. Even having that slim chance that we play, even having that alone, I was willing to take that risk to play with my guys and also my brother, because my brother’s a sophomore tackle on our team. I don’t know when I’ll get the opportunity again to play football with my brother, and I think that’s irreplaceable. So, it really just came down to this is what my heart wanted.”
Leigh could have enrolled early at Clemson in January and thus had the opportunity to participate in spring practice with the Tigers, but the coaching staff was fully supportive of his decision to stick around for his final high school campaign at Robinson.
“They let me know early on, like that’s completely your decision,” Leigh said. “If you want to come early, start getting into the workouts, start doing spring ball, we’d love to have you, be happy to have you. But we completely understand how you want to play your senior season, play with your brother, all that. So, that really helped me with my decision because I knew they were going to back me up no matter what I did, and everybody around me, my teammates were all backing me up. So, it really helped me make my decision.”
Leigh is rated as a five-star prospect by both Rivals and 247Sports. He is the No. 1 prospect from Virginia, No. 4 offensive tackle nationally and No. 13 overall prospect in the 2021 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
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