Last week when I visited South Miami High and spoke to All-American cornerback AJ Leggett before his team's big playoff game against Columbus he was gushing at the thought over playing for the Hurricanes next season.
"I've been wanting to play at UM all my life," he said. "I see a lot of opportunity there. I've been working hard to get my grades right, my test scores, my classes and stuff in line. The only thing I have to pass right now is Spanish and Math class in virtual school so I can graduate on time. If I maintain my grades, I'll be straight."
Leggett, who has a 2.4 GPA and recently scored a 22 on his ACT, might have all the grades and necessary paperwork to get past the NCAA Clearinghouse next year. But UM's academic admissions department? That appears to be an entirely different issue according to South Miami coach Lamont Green.
Earlier this week, Green said UM defensive backs coach Paul Williams stopped by the school to have a conversation with Leggett about his academic situation, particularly what he needs to get into UM. And now it appears UM is warning Leggett that if he signs with them in February he may have to spend a year a prep school.
"According to what Paul said since AJ went to more than two high schools, he's going to need the paperwork of every high school he went to -- and he warned him it's going to be a long process," Green said. "He was just saying if they sign him football wise they don't think academically the school will let him in right away and he'll have to go to prep school. He said based on what they saw last year with a couple other guys it was going to happen again this year."
Leggett, considered the 10th best cornerback in the country by Rivals.com, took to Facebook to voice his frustration on the news saying: "I dont think I will be playing In miami next year," according to InsideTheU.com.
Leggett attended four different high schools, beginning the ninth grade at South Miami before attending Booker T. Washington as a sophomore, Gulliver Prep as a junior, Homestead this summer and then South Miami again as a senior.
"All that switching really wasn't up to me. It was my parents," Leggett told me last week. "If it were up to me, I would have stayed at one or two programs -- probably here or Booker T."
Leggett led South Miami to a 9-3 season. He played quarterback and accounted for over 1,600 yards on offense and 15 touchdowns. On defense, he had four interceptions. Leggett plans on playing in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Dallas, Texas as well as the Dade-Broward Game.
The issue now is what Leggett plans to do next. He said the reason he committed to UM and coach Al Golden -- after switching back and forth as a Florida State commitment -- was because he wanted to be close to home and his 11-month old son A.J. III.
"I have a responsibility here at home and I want to be with him," Leggett said. "It's good if you can play at a good college and be close to your kid."
Green said he's not sure what Leggett will do now, but said schools like Ohio State and Florida State are still interested in him. UM sorely needs cornerbacks in its recruiting class and has four other defensive back commitments. But Leggett is clearly considered the most talented of the bunch.
"At least they're letting him know now before he puts his signature on any documents what the deal is," Green said of Miami. "We'll see what he wants to do. Sometimes in college football things work out, sometimes it don't. They told him they definitely want him, but they want to be up front and not have him get frustrated. I don't know what he's thinking. I'm waiting on AJ to see how he wants to attack it."