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April 4, 2011After receiving interest from several schools, North Forrest (Miss.) junior Leland Ducksworth finally got a big relief off his mind last weekend. That is when the 6-foot-1 and 215-pound linebacker collected his initial scholarship offer.
"I went to Louisiana-Lafayette to visit and they offered me," said Ducksworth. "It was great to get that first offer. It makes you feel good and it was a confidence-booster. When they offered me, I was like 'wow, that really just happened'. So it was cool and surprising at the same time."
Ducksworth has also unofficially visited Mississippi State twice over the last month or so. He attended MSU's initial junior day this spring and then was in attendance at one of State's spring practices before spring break.
"I was also going to their scrimmage last weekend but I couldn't make it because I was taking the ACT," said Ducksworth. "But it was good to see their practice earlier this month. That day I noticed the defense was dominating and that is a big thing in the football world and defense wins championships. Their entire practice was very intense and they have some good players and should be real good again next year.
"They send me letters just about every day. I am also going to try to make it to their spring game so I can talk to their coaches again. Coach (Dan) Mullen wants me to bring my parents with me the next time so he can have a good 1-on-1 talk with us. And I look forward to that. It is still a little early but Mississippi State has been there from the beginning and they are sticking out to me a little bit."
Ducksworth noted a few other schools are beginning to send him letters and increased interest.
"Florida State is starting to send me a lot of letters like Mississippi State is," said Ducksworth. "I am also getting some letters from Tennessee and they just started doing that. And I am getting a couple of letters from Ivy League schools like Harvard and Penn."
While Ducksworth has been checking out college spring sessions, his own spring practice at North Forrest is right around the corner. Last year Ducksworth played on both sides of the ball at running back and linebacker. He rushed for 537 yards and two touchdowns and defensively, Ducksworth had 69 tackles, including one sack and seven tackles for loss, and three fumble recoveries, two fumbles forced and one interception.
"We start spring ball in two or three weeks and it should be a lot of fun," noted Ducksworth. "I just want to work hard on my footwork and get my tackling form back. I was pretty good at tackling last year but you can always improve and I am striving to get better. I want to keep getting stronger and just be a better athlete overall."