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2023 signee Nathan Leacock soars in final rankings from On3

Tennessee ends up with a big time prospect here.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Capital One Orange Bowl Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sometimes you go head to head with your rival and win a recruiting battle. Other times, you find a prospect early on and get ahead of the pack. That’s what Tennessee did with Nathan Leacock, and following a strong senior season, the Volunteers ended up with a high-end prospect.

On3 moved Leacock into their top 50 on Monday morning, where he’ll finish 45th in their final ranking of the 2023 class. The 6-3, 195 pound prospect out of North Carolina is now Tennessee’s third highest ranked player, trailing only Nico Iamaleava (2) and Daevin Hobbs (20), per On3.

Leacock committed to Tennessee without too much fanfare back in July, finding a home before his final high school season began. That added focus may have helped, as Leacock put up over 1,700 yards and scored 23 times for Millbrook.

That big year powered his climb up the recruiting rankings.

“He’s long, he’s athletic,” Josh Heupel said during the early signing period. “He’s already made plays out on the practice field. The thing I’ve loved about him so far is his ability to take a rep, take coaching and then incorporate that into his next rep. That’s what you’re looking for in your young guys.”

Per 247Sports, Leacock is the 96th ranked player in the class. Rivals has him ranked 93rd. When he committed to Tennessee, Leacock wasn’t even in the top 500. Needless to say, the Tennessee staff saw something with him, and they won this battle with a fantastic early evaluation.

Leacock joins a stout Tennessee offense that will be looking to replace Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt in 2023. However, as we saw in the Orange Bowl win, the top three appear set. And now with the addition of Oregon transfer Dont’e Thornton, cracking that top rotation will be a tall task for Leacock. However, looking ahead to 2024, Bru McCoy and Ramel Keyton will be out of eligibility, leaving the door open for guys like Leacock, Chas Nimrod and Kaleb Webb to find the field.

Regardless, keep an eye on Leacock this spring.