Sports Illustrated All-American has been in the process of unveiling its rankings of the top prospects at each position in the 2021 recruiting class over the last couple of weeks and it continued on Tuesday morning with a look at their top 10 slot receivers.
The University of Alabama currently has three wide receiver commits in the 2021 cycle in Agyie Hall, Jacorey Brooks, and Christian Leary, all of whom are also SI All-American candidates.
Leary is the one who primarily plays in the slot, and the SI All-American team, led by director of football recruiting, John Garcia Jr., ranked the Sunshine State standout as the No. 2 slot receiver in the country only behind Oklahoma commit, Mario Williams.
Here is Garcia's full assessment of Leary's ability:
"There's no doubt who the fastest slot talent on this list is. Leary is a blur and it doesn't take him long to ramp up that lower body power all the way to full tilt. While the polish, compared to a guy like Williams, isn't quite as developed, there isn't a bigger home run threat at the position. Only a part-time wideout in high school, his experience in the backfield and in the return game provides stunning showcases of vision, elusiveness and even lateral ability that make the slot position projection an easy call. As his understanding of the route tree expands into the future, Leary's strong hands and natural tools should get him on the field in space early in his college career."
The full list includes all but two uncommitted players and only one SEC pledge, which is Leary.
- Mario Williams - Oklahoma
- Christian Leary - Alabama
- Destyn Pazon
- Jabez Tinae - Washington
- Xavier Worthy - Michigan
- Kyron Ware-Hudson - Oregon
- Quaydarius Davis - USC
- Gavin Blackwell - North Carolina
- Troy Stellato - Clemson
- Jaquez Smith
Furthermore, SI All-American's full evaluation of Leary is listed below. He will surely be in the mix for the preseason SI99, which features the best prospects in the country regardless of position.
Prospect: Christian Leary
Status: SI All-American Candidate
Vitals: 5-foot-9, 180 pounds
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater
Committed to: Alabama
Projected Position: Wide Receiver
Frame: Compact build with an upper-body definition. Some length as well as room to add mass at the next level.
Athleticism: Electric athlete in every sense of the word. Extremely strong out of the blocks with elite top-end speed, validated by a 10.5-second 100-meter dash time to his credit. Lower-body explosion largely unmatched in the class of 2021 and gets to top speed sooner rather than later.
Instincts: Natural playmaker with the football in his hands. Not just a track guy even though he doesn’t get caught from behind. Subtle movement skill in space to break tackles beyond pure torque. Excellent after the catch, largely due to positional versatility. Lined up as run-first quarterback considerably during 2019 season, helping his team to a state title appearance.
Polish: When it comes to after the catch ability, the return game and flat out covering the ground, few in America can contend with Leary. Good vision with uncanny cut-back ability without wasted motion. As a wide receiver, room to improve fundamentals at the position, particularly the ability to combat press and short to intermediate routes.
Bottom Line: Leary is headed to Alabama and it’s hard not to liken his game to that of recent Crimson Tide star and first-round NFL Draft pick Henry Ruggs. Each played multiple positions on the football field and played multiple sports at the prep level with undeniable explosive play-making ability regardless of setting. As Leary polishes up his game as a passing target, particularly his route-running and ability to vary releases at the line of scrimmage, he’ll be the type of athlete an offensive coordinator designs plays for without fail.