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Leonard proposal photo

Kayla Sanderson displays her engagement ring for photos after she accepted South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard's postgame proposal following Saturday's 33-15 Bulldogs' home win against Hampton on Willie E. Jeffries Field in Orangeburg. Leonard is the all-time leading tackler in S.C. State football history.

A diamond given after a World Series game seven victory seems to have triggered a surge in on-field proposals from the baseball diamond to college football fields all over the country.

Carlos Correa is the Houston shortstop who melted hearts around the world the first day of November when he proposed to girlfriend Daniella Rodriguez on the field just moments after the Astros won the organization's first World Series in dramatic fashion in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, a few college football players followed his lead.

South Carolina State All-American linebacker Darius Leonard celebrated Senior Day by proposing to girlfriend Kayla Michelle Sanderson at midfield after the Bulldogs' 33-15 win over Hampton in Orangeburg on Saturday.

Her "yes" capped a big day for Leonard, an NFL hopeful who extended his S.C. State all-time tackles record with eight tackles, including two tackles for a loss and two sacks, in the game.

"He wanted to do (the proposal) before the game or maybe at halftime, and we'd been talking about it through most of the bye week leading up to this game," Bulldogs head coach Buddy Pough said. "But I told him he was taking a chance doing it after the game, because I said if we get whipped out there, I'm not standing around on the field to watch you propose.

"But it worked out for us and for Darius. He's a great guy and she is a great young lady who has already finished (college) and is teaching school back in their hometown. I couldn't think of a better scenario for him."

Sanderson, who graduated Lake View High School along with Leonard, graduated from Claflin University in the spring after playing her softball career at the school that is S.C. State's neighbor.

Leonard wasn't alone in college football proposals on Saturday.

In the midst of the on-field celebration following Georgia Tech's 28-22 upset win over No. 17 Virginia Tech, Yellow Jackets linebacker Tre' Jackson proposed to girlfriend Desi Nathe. His teammates chanted "Yes! Yes! Yes!" as he slipped the ring on her finger.

Jackson asked coach Paul Johnson a couple of weeks ago if he could propose on the field — assuming the Yellow Jackets pulled out the victory.

"I missed it," Johnson said later, chuckling. "He had asked me and told me he was going to do that. In all honesty, I forgot about it."

In Boulder, Colorado, Buffaloes football player Trent Headley didn't wait until after the game against Southern Cal to ask cheerleader Lizzie Trujillo to marry him. She said yes to the linebacker after he veered away from Senior Day player introductions and dropped to one knee.

"I had no idea. I'm still in shock," Trujillo said. "I took my ring off and gave it to my coach just to be safe and keep it protected."

Like Jackson, Headley cleared the idea with Buffs coach Mike MacIntyre — all the way back in the summer, actually.

"I said, 'You better make sure she's going to say yes out there in front of all those people,'" MacIntyre said with a smile. "That was a great moment for Trent and everybody there. That's something they'll always remember."

Over at Penn State, former offensive lineman Chance Sorrell proposed to his girlfriend Kayla Lonergan following the Nittany Lions' 35-6 victory over Rutgers. Even the public address system was involved, playing "My Girl" for the big moment. Sorrell is currently part of Penn State's staff.

Of course, on-field player proposals aren't new. Boise State running back Ian Johnson famously surprised Broncos cheerleader Chrissy Popadics with an on-camera proposal following Boise State's stunning 43-42 victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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