By Jorge Corrales/Sports Director
FIU redshirt junior Richard Leonard has informed the school that he will be returning in fall for his senior year. Leonard started all 12 games for the Panthers in 2014. He recorded five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He also led the nation in fumble recoveries with four, including a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the Shula Bowl against FAU. Leonard was named First-Team All Conference USA at both corner back and punt returner for his performance in 2014.
“After sitting down with my family, I have decided to return for my senior year at FIU,” Leonard said. “I set goals when I first came to FIU. First-and-foremost I wanted to get my degree. And, I will accomplish that goal in May. Although I’ve had some success on the football field, there are still things I want to accomplish, not only for myself but for my teammates. I want this team to have a winning season, contend for a Conference USA title and be bowl eligible. But, setting those goals is only the first step. Once you have those goals, it is important to decide how you will go about achieving them and staying with that plan. I’m excited to see what this team can do next year with all of the pieces returning. We have a lot of young, experienced talent coming back. There’s a lot that this team wants to accomplish in 2015, and I can’t wait to be a part of it. ”
Leonard, a Miami native, has appeared in 37 games for the Panthers. He has recorded 142 tackles, eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Leonard has also has a kickoff return and two punt returns for touchdowns in his career.
“We are excited to have Richard back for his senior season,” Head Coach Ron Turner said. “He is one of the top corners and return men in the game. He had a tremendous 2014 season and I believe that he is as excited as we are to see what he can do next year. He’s a playmaker and a difference-maker on the field and along with a number of returning student-athletes that we have next year, the 2015 season should be a special one.”