Live Scouting Evaluation: Christian Leary vs. IMG Academy (Fla.)
Water is wet. The sky is blue. Christian Leary is as explosive as any prospect in the country. Those are all facts.
Leary, No. 42 overall in the SI99, is the nation's No. 2 Slot WR prospect. His Orlando Edgewater (Fla.) team took on Bradenton IMG Academy (Fla.) last week, and SI All-American was on hand to get a closer look.
On the hoof, the 'Bama-bound Leary exhibited a thicker-than-expected frame, standing at about 5-foot-9 and looking to be 185-190 pounds. He boasted some thickness in his arms and torso, a strong-looking trunk and healthy calves.
Leary played an array of positions for Edgewater, including QB. While he certainly will work as a receiver at Alabama, the Crimson Tide commit did show off good run traits that will translate well in RAC-situations. Edgewater liked using Leary on QB power-read concepts, allowing him to enter holes trailing a pulling OL. Leary displayed solid vision, mental processing and ideal contact-balance.
Also, to assure he got the ball in his hands, Edgewater deployed Leary as a main option in its return game. In this area, Leary also showed very good contact balance and quickness, yet it was his elusive traits that impressed us.
On much of his junior tape, Leary proved explosive often in linear situations, which led us yearning to see a bit more elusiveness, agility and redirect ability with the ball in his hands, as making sure he does not take many clean shots in college will only aid his durability. He flashed during the matchup against IMG Academy he's capable of making defenders miss in tight space.
While he was charged with doing many things for Edgewater, we did come to the game wanting to see how Leary has developed as a receiver.
He aligned both in the slot and as #1 to the field, showing a solid vertical release vs. off alignments. Leary's route tree consisted of hooks/comebacks, speed outs, hitches and go's, among others.
On one particular rep, Leary was matched up against Markevious Brown, our No. 9 Nickel prospect. Brown sat off Leary, respecting his speed. Leary released vertical with mid-tempo to collect information, processed and used a bam step to sell a slant to get Brown to open his hips and bail. Once executed to lift Brown higher on the perimeter, Leary then motored down and showed solid concentration and adjust ability to dig out a low thrown ball for a catch.
Leary also flashed a solid receiving package, something we were concerned about for reasons beyond his control. He executed a speed out with an explosive vertical release, correctly used a speed cut while squaring his hips and pads to the sideline, whipped his head around and plucked a pass with both mitts to show correct hand placement.
Although the game result was disappointing for Leary, and he didn't get to show off his full skill set, he did flash on a few reps.
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