Athlete of the Week Archive

Sept. 28, 2007


David Leonard

What was it like to put on a Cowboy uniform and play in front of a sold-out stadium during your first collegiate game?
"A complete adrenaline rush. Running out onto the field and hearing the chants and the school song, it kind of took my breath away. It's what I've always wanted from playing on a Division I football team."

Describe your first career touchdown catch against Ohio and how that felt.
"It was a great ball. The line really held the defense and gave Karsten time. It was one of those passes that you just dream about catching. After I caught it at first I didn't know what to do, I just handed the ball to the ref, but then I started celebrating with the team. It was a great feeling and I hope there is more of that to come."

What has been the biggest adjustment for you going from high school to the NCAA Division I level?
"The game speed is just totally different. It is a new level that you have to get used to and adjust to. But the biggest thing for me probably has been the playbook. There are so many new things and it's a totally new offense for me. It's a lot to take in, from the beginning of camp and into the season. I've been taking it one step at a time, but I'm getting there with the plays and the game speed."

Receivers are often asked to block; do you enjoy that part of the game?
"I've always loved hitting, so when you only play receiver then the blocking is my only chance to get in some hits. You have to make the right read, know where you're going, be under control and then make the right block. The coaches stress that our position is not just about catching the ball, but also about blocking. That's half the job. It's a big thing and I do enjoy it."

So would you rather catch a big touchdown pass or make a big block that springs someone else for a touchdown?
"I'd have to go with catching the pass. As a receiver if you get that long catch and then a touchdown, that's the best feeling."

What's the worst hit you've ever taken running a route across the middle of the field?
"So far in college I haven't really gotten knocked, but I'm sure it's coming soon. I'm not really worried about it. I've been hit a lot by the guys here and I'm sure they hit as hard as anyone else. I'm more worried about making the catch than I am about taking a big hit."

Tell us about the #33. Have you always worn that number?
"Yes, I've always worn #33. It is my grandpa's number, John Leonard. He played at Kansas State. I wanted to represent him and honor his memory. I also have a little thing I say for him before each game."

Is there a specific football player you idolized while growing up?
"Probably Jordie Nelson from Kansas State. He's a big, tall guy who runs great routes. I actually watch lots of receivers by going on YouTube and seeing what they do, what kind of routes they run, how they get themselves open and then I try to mimic that. Since I've been here I've really watched the older guys; Hoost, Mike and Greg. They've taken me under their wings and really helped develop me."

Did you play any other sports in high school?
"I played basketball and tennis. I originally planned on going to college for basketball and I thought that was my ticket. My senior year came and I had a decent year in football and started getting some looks. I came here on a visit and instantly fell in love with it, so that was that. I did travel quite a bit for basketball, AAU teams and such. Tennis is a fun sport and one that you can play forever, so I relly enjoyed that also."

Tell us about life in the dorms.
"I live in Downey Hall, fourth floor, with Chris Stutzriem. He's a great guy and we instantly hit it off. He's a funny guy and in fact, the whole freshman class is great. Great athletes, but great people also. The Washakie food I'm getting used to. I'm used to that home cooking, but every Monday we go over to fellow receiver Chris Johnson's house and we eat steaks. It's a big meal and a little ritual that we've started."

With college life comes pizza. What is your pizza of choice?
"I'm a big pepperoni fan, so I have to go with Pizza Hut pepperoni."

What is the last concert that you've attended?
"I've actually never been to a concert. I went to a Christmas one with my family, but I'm not really big on concerts. I listen to all sorts of music; rap, country. You have to get into country when you live here, right?"

If you could go and see one musical performer or group, who would it be?
"I'd have to go with Lil' Wayne."