Video: Athlete of the Week: Starkville High’s Raphael Leonard
STARKVILLE,Miss. (WCBI) – Starkville High has been off to a flying start this season on offense… the Jackets have scored over 50 points in each of their first two games to begin the year. In last week’s win over Oxford, the Jackets put up 52 points…18 of those points came from Wide Receiver Ralph Leonard, who by his performance against Oxford has earned the nickname ‘Wreck it Ralph’ from the WCBI Sports team.
“I just like the competition, going out on Friday nights, playing. When the lights come on, I just get into another gear,” says Senior Raphael Leonard. The team is ranked #1 in their division. In last week’s game against 3rd ranked Oxford High, Leonard ran for 167 yards, had seven catches and three touch downs.
“We wanted to go out and prove to everybody that Oxford wasn’t better than us. I give it all to my quarterback and the offensive line. He just gets me the ball and trusts me to make a play,” says Leonard.
When Leonard isn’t scorching the competition on the field, he’s burning the midnight oil, keeping his head in the books.
“My mom is real strict because she’s a teacher herself. So if I bring home anything less than an A, it’s not going to be good at the house,” says Leonard.
Head football coach Jamie Mitchell says Leonard is the total package and everything you want in a player.
“Raphael is a great kid. He’s got a 22 on the ACT, comes from a great family, quiet-spoken young man, doesn’t say a lot but a tremendous player for us on the field. He’s 6’3, 180, he has great jumping ability, plays the ball in the air extremely well. A kid we’re very very proud of,” says Mitchell.
Starkville’s Quarterback Brady Davis says having Leonard on his team takes some of the pressure off.
You got a receiver with that much talent on your team, it makes it an easy job for me. We just go out here, we go have fun and we try to dominate defenders everyday,” says Davis.
Coach Mitchell says he expects to see Leonard playing collegiate football on Saturdays next year. The Yellow Jackets have another big game as they face cross town rival, West Point Green Wave this Friday at 7pm.