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Friday, April 25, 2014

Backyard Ballers: Carolina Gamecock Jimmy Legree

Jimmy Legree was a good corner for the Carolina Gamecocks for several years and spent the vast majority of his time as a starter after redshirting during his freshman season. In 2012 and 2013, Jimmy was an integral part of their defensive backfield.

When he came out of high school, he was either a 2- or 3-star recruit. Translation: decent player but probably won't be a star.

Inserted as the starting free safety in 2011 after a strong 2-pick showing in the spring game, Legree struggled and after two games the young player was used on special teams and from the bench.

In 2012, he moved to the cornerback position and that's where he hit his stride. Not letting his uneven play from 2011 keep him down, he got back up and went right at it with gusto. It didn't take him long to prove to the Head Ball Coach that he could cover wide receivers and appeared in every game since then, sharing time at the position with teammate Akeem Auguste.

You've gotta admire a guy who faces adversity, gets knocked down, gets back up, and is better than ever for it. It demonstrates character, resilience, and a can-do attitude that every NFL team desires in their players.

He had 44 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2012, leading the team in the latter category for the season. He also had his first career interception, a pick-6 against East Carolina University. Quite fitting that he "pilfered the Pirates" on that play, I'd say! He also had a couple of long returns on other interceptions but didn't find the end zone other than the 34-yarder against ECU.

So the story goes, he had his best game against a Georgia team favored to beat USC, but partially due to Legree's blanket coverage that game, Georgia QB Aaron Murray found the slogging tough and the Carolina Gamecocks found themselves a win.
Jimmy Legree
In 2013, he increased his tackle total to 55, notched three more interceptions, and showed better ability to play the run.

That's another thing coaches absolutely love - a guy who learns and broadens his game as he gains experience. As such, he had his finest play of his career on jumping a slant-route intended for Jordan Cunningham late in the Vanderbilt game, conserving a ten point lead for Carolina.

Now, he's hoping to get drafted in the deepest overall NFL draft class in over a decade. Whether or not he's chosen in the draft, one thing is for sure.

NFL scouts and coaches at least know who he is.

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

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