Super 16: Leath a Primary Asset on Both Sides of the Ball for Highlanders
Mon. August 20, 2012 at 4:14 a.m. | By Mike Cobb
Lake Wales' Bobby Leath has talent at multiple positions but he'll mostly stick to the offensive and defensive trenches. (Photo by MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER )
By MIKE COBB | LEDGER CORRESPONDENT
LAKE WALES | Bobby Leath is good enough to play several positions for Lake Wales, according to head coach Rod Shafer.
"He could probably be the best tight end in Polk County," Shafer said.
He could be that good, just like his older brother Melvin Pearsall, a former player at Lake Wales who also starred at Florida State University as a tight end.
But the 6-foot-3, 285-pound Leath will be one of the best offensive linemen in the county. He'll also be one of the best defensive ends.
Shafer said he plans to use Leath about half the time on the offensive line and full time at defensive end.
"He can pull and trap and go down field and get linebackers," Shafer said of Leath's abilities on the offensive line. "That's what makes him good. He's one of those can't-miss football players. He could start at defensive tackle, nose, offensive tackle, guard or tight end."
Scout.com ranks Leath as the 36th best offensive guard in the nation, and ESPN ranks him No. 62 on the defensive tackle list. He is also on the PolkPreps.com Super 16 list, a selection of the top 16 rising seniors in Polk County.
He has received offers from more than a dozen schools and said he expects to make his decision sometime in September.
"I'm just trying to focus on my last year (of high school) and my grades," he said. "I'll probably commit the third or fourth week of the season."
He has narrowed his top five choices to Kansas State, Nebraska, Florida, South Florida and Iowa State.
All things considered, Leath said he prefers playing defense.
"I like hitting the quarterback," he said with a smile.
His strength and quickness make him a threat to get to the quarterback, said Lake Wales defensive coordinator Bob Urwin.
"He's just so strong and has good hands for a lineman," he said. "I don't think he realizes how strong he is."
Shafer seconds that assessment.
"First of all, he has great size," Shafer said. "And he's legitimately a fast defensive lineman; runs a 4.8 (in the 40-yard dash). He's just physical and strong."
Although he could very likely sign with a college as a defensive lineman, he could play on either side of the ball in college, Shafer said.
"Generally what happens, they automatically scholarship defensive people," Shafer said. "The ones that don't work, they move them to offense."
Either way, Leath has a long list of colleges awaiting his decision.