Let me just put this out there before you read this. I am Class of 1993, Independence High School in Charlotte, NC. The Patriots have won 4 straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association football titles…..and are favored to win their 5th. They are currently riding a 62-game winning streak…and their nationally followed QB [Joe Cox] and WR [Mohamed Massaquoi] have both committed to Georgia. This from a school that, at least when I was there, was anything but a football power. In fact, it was more of a basketball school [Todd Fuller, former NBAer and NC State star went there].
September 18th could match two brothers at the quarterback spot in one of the top rivalries in college football. Tennessee vs. Florida. Or CJ Leak vs. Chris Leak.
The Leaks were at the helm of the Independence Patriots football team from 1996-2002. During that tenure, the Pats won titles in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 [the last one without a QB named Leak].
CJ Leak was the QB for Independence from 1996-1998 and pretty much helped put the school‘s football program on the map. He chose to go to Wake Forest over Notre Dame and Penn State….but in 2000 he suffered a horrible knee injury that sidelined his college career. The injury itself wasn’t so bad…but the infection gained was bad enough that they needed to place a catheter directly into his heart so he could inject antibiotics to his bloodstream. After that red shirt season….he left Wake to go to Tennessee. He sat out 2001 because he transferred…and got into 8 games over the last two seasons with the Vols. The six-year senior is #1 on the depth chart….but the job isn’t securely his. Behind him is his little brother of the guy he is replacing…..Casey Clausen’s brother Rick.
Chris replaced CJ at Independence….and won 3 North Carolina state titles. He left Independence at the all-time passer in high school history. Leak stole the show in Gainsville and became the full time starter after some impressive cameos early in the season. Now, he’s a serious contender for the Heisman in 2005 or maybe even this year. One interesting sidebar is the Vols’ fans hatred for Chris. Chris was “all but in the bag” for Tennessee, especially since big brother was there trying to bring him along. Instead, Chris spurned UT for their hated rival, the Florida Gators.
So, to me….and people in Charlotte….the 9-18 battle between the Vols and Gators could be a pleasure!