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Former Dino star Deane Leonard adjusting to life in the SEC with Ole Miss Rebels

It’s certainly been an eventful transition for Deane Leonard.The two-time

All-Canadian protective back with the Calgary Dinos stays in his extremely first season at Ole Miss. He moved there during the off-season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced U Sports to cancel its 2020 campaign.article continues

noted below The six-foot-two, 195-pound Calgary local is a second-team player on a Rebels defence that’s enabled 1,201 yards and 92 points in its first two computer game of the year. And it does not get any a lot easier as Ole Miss (1-1) handles No. 2 Alabama (2-0) on Saturday.John Metchie III, of

Brampton, Ont., had 5 receptions for 181 backyards and 2 TDs in leading the Crimson Tide past No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24 last Saturday.

“They resemble a track group back there,” Leonard told press reporters today throughout a videoconference. “They’re rapidly, they’re active, they can truly do it all.”

However a minimum of Leonard can prepare safe in the understanding that he’ll have the capability to continue his transition to life in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference. He didn’t receive clearance from SEC authorities to play till prior to the Rebels’ season-opening 51-35 loss to Florida on Sept. 26.

“It’s rather frustrating,” Leonard stated. “You go to practice every day and you use it your all however you don’t know if you’ll in fact have the ability to go out on the field.

“I sort of approached the week with the frame of mind that I was going to play so it wasn’t extreme of a change. But, yeah, it was terrific to hear that at that point.”

And it wasn’t long prior to Leonard – who led Canada West with 4 interceptions last year, returning 2 for TDs for the Vanier Cup-champion Dinos – comprehended he wasn’t in U Sports any longer. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask tossed for 416 yards and 6 TDs while Kyle Pitts, a six-foot-six, 246-pound tight end, had eight catches for 170 backyards and four TDs.

“That’s something I didn’t in fact have experience with how athletic the guys are– both in speed and size,” Leonard stated. “Betting Florida, breaking Pitts, I have actually never ever seen anything like that in my three years at university.”

Still, Lane Kiffin, the University of Mississippi’s first-year head coach, has high long for Leonard. Last month, Kiffin stated Leonard, “looks every bit like an NFL player.”

“It’s a pointer that I’m doing what I need to be doing day in and day out,” Leonard said. “It’s just inspiration to keep pushing forward through the season.”

Leonard absolutely has a pedigree for skilled football. His father, Kenton, was similarly a protective back with the Calgary Stampeders (1991-97). He earned a Grey Cup ring with the franchise in 1992.

“That very first half (versus Florida) was big, it was a knowing experience, for sure,” Deane Leonard specified. “I was slipping all over but I think what that game notified me is I was in position for all those plays and I can handle them.

“I still feel like I have actually got a long technique to go, I simply require to get a feel for the game. Everything is a bit various. The splits are tighter, this is actually my first month playing press. There’s a huge learning curve and I seem like I’m just on the uprising of it.”

Nevertheless, at least Leonard isn’t making the shift alone. Tavius Robinson, a six-foot-seven, 245-pound Guelph, Ont., native and former Gryphons defensive lineman, also moved to Ole Miss this off-season. The two are roommates and Leonard stated it’s certainly helped having another Canadian who’s also adjusting to life in Mississippi, on and off the field.

“It’s terrific having another man in a comparable scenario,” he stated. “Even previous football, worrying Mississippi, there’s a big cultural difference and having another Canadian person to be there is pretty huge.

“Transferring to Mississippi in basic is merely a cultural difference. Everybody is simply a little bit numerous than you are and it just invests a long time to adapt to.”

This report by The Canadian Press was very first launched Oct. 7, 2020.

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