Second UCF linebacker enters NCAA transfer portal – Sun Sentinel

UCF redshirt freshman linebacker Kadeem Leonard announced Monday he has entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal.

A member of UCF’s 2021 recruiting class, Leonard sat out his freshman season while working with the scout team.

Leonard is the fourth Knight and the second linebacker to enter the transfer portal since the end of spring camp joining redshirt freshman Cole Joyce as well as star receiver Jaylon Robinson and reserve quarterback Parker Navarro.

“I would like to thank the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity and mentoring me to become a better player and man,” Leonard wrote on Twitter. “UCF will always hold a special place in my [heart.]”

Leonard will have four years of eligibility remaining at his next school. He departs a linebacker room that was already thin.

Senior Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste is the only returning linebacker with starting experience.

The only other linebacker on scholarship who has appeared in multiple games is junior Quade Mosier. He played in all 13 games last season and made 5 tackles.

Redshirt junior Derek Burns, who walked on in 2019, has played some linebacker but mostly special teams and recorded 3 tackles last season.

The Knights added Terrence Lewis, a Maryland transfer and 5-star linebacker, from the portal in January but he was limited by injury this spring.

The redshirt freshman continues to rehab from a knee injury incurred before coming to UCF.

UCF also has Eastern Illinois transfer linebacker Jason Johnson joining the team this summer. Johnson, who verbally committed in March, is a two-time FCS All-American that started every game the past two years for the Panthers.

It’s likely with Joyce and Leonard departing that UCF is considering taking another linebacker with playing experience from the transfer portal this summer.

Coming out of high school, Leonard was a three-star prospect who ranked as the No. 57 recruit in the state of North Carolina.

Enrolling early at UCF in January 2021, Leonard missed out on his senior season which was pushed back from fall 2020 to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a junior in 2019 at Fairmont High School (NC), Leonard recorded 4 sacks, 55 total tackles, and 12 tackles for loss.

And there’s a chance Leonard won’t be the last Knight to enter the portal before the month comes to a close.

Athletes must provide their current school with a written request to enter the portal by May 1 if they participate in a fall or winter sport and want to receive immediate eligibility at their next school, according to the NCAA.

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.

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