Now comes the NFL.
South Carolina State linebacker is among three players from HBCUs invited to the National Football League’s 2018 Scouting Combine. A total of 336 participants are to attend the event, which will take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, from Feb. 27-March 5.
Leonard is joined by Southern University defensive back Danny Johnson and North Carolina A&T offensive lineman Brandon Parker. All were invited following their performances in the Senior Bowl.
Leonard racked up a game-high 14 tackles at college football's premier All-Star game and earned Most Valuable Player on Defense in the Reese’s Senior Bowl held last month in Mobile, Alabama.
The NFL Scouting Combine is a week-long showcase where college football players perform physical and mental tests in front of NFL coaches, general managers, and scouts.
Athletes attend by invitation only with the implication that an athlete's performance during the combine can affect their draft status and salary, and ultimately their careers.
The 6-3, 229-pound Leonard, a two-time MEAC defensive player of the year and a first-team selection on the 2017 STATS FCS All-America Team, totaled a school-record 394 tackles in his career.
In 2017, Leonard was named to The Associated Press’ FCS All-America first team. He also the first HBCU Sports Defensive Player of the Year.
He also repeated won back-to-back honors as the BoxToRow Willie Davis Defensive Player of the Year.
Leonard, a redshirt senior from the Lake View High School program in Dillon County, in December attended the 60th annual National Football Foundation awards dinner, along with a group of guests that included Dabo Swinney and 2017 College Football Hall of Fame inductees Steve Spurrier, Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk, Kirk Gibson, Matt Leinart and Brian Urlacher.