On the Hillcrest roster, Brandon Leaks is listed as an “athlete.”
Not a running back, a receiver or a defensive back, though he plays those positions.
Hillcrest coach Greg Porter believes “athlete” best describes the Rams’ senior all-around threat.
“He can do a lot of things,” Porter said. “He’s definitely a team player. We love his leadership. Sometimes, we have to hold him back.”
Holding back Leaks is something opposing special teams units have had a hard time doing. With a blocked punt Friday night in a 56-17 loss at Greenwood, Leaks has blocked five punts in the last two seasons.
Charging in from the left side, Leaks blocked a Greenwood punt then recovered it at the Eagles’ 1 yard-line, and the Rams came away with a field goal.
“I just come off the edge as fast as I can,” said Leaks. “I just went after it, and I saw that I had it.”
How does Leaks continue to block kicks, even against top teams such as Greenwood?
“It’s simple — just effort,” said Porter. “Brandon has good explosiveness and he just has a knack for it.”
Leaks is also one of four outstanding running backs for the Rams (2-3, 0-1 in Region 1-AAAA).
Leaks scored the winning touchdown in the Rams’ season-opening victory against Golden Strip rival Mauldin with a 48-yard run. Earlier in that game, he scored on a 43-yard pass reception.
He also scored two touchdowns in a Sept. 14 victory against Riverside.
“He’s great in the classroom, and he does whatever we need him to do on the field,” Porter said.
As good as Leaks is with the ball in his hands, he may be best at blocking kicks while playing on special teams.
With his speed, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Leaks outruns and outhustles opponents to block punts.
“Sometimes it hurts,” Leaks said of putting his arms and hands in front of a kicked ball. “I like doing it.”
“Brandon is a special kind of player,” Porter said. “He’s very unselfish. One game, he’s our leading ball carrier, the next he’s making big plays on special teams.”