July 14, 2010

Athlete produces in leaps and bounds

It's often called a "leap" when making the step up from high school into college football.

While that's the metaphorical sense of the word, few can accomplish a literal leap like Le'Vander Liggins.

A Louisiana class 4A state runner-up in the long jump - propelling himself more than 22-feet - the versatile athlete has proven he can make his impact on the football field as well as above a track pit.

The three-star prospect has secured offers from Tulane, ULM, Louisiana Tech, SMU and Miami (OH) thanks to his lighting quickness and ability to chew up large chunks of yardage in the open field.

"I like to get the ball in some space," Liggins said. "I feel like I can make some moves to get the most possible yardage out of each play. I don't like going out of bounds and I don't like stopping the clock. I just want to get up the field and put some points up on the board."

That ability is what attracted the Green Wave to the Leesville, La. product as it searches for big play producers to complement its 2012 class.

Liggins can certainly provide that.

As a junior he produced more than 1,000 yards of total offense and did it in "remember-me" style. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry on the ground (584 yards on 88 carries) and gashed defenses for a remarkable 17.2 yards per catch (550 yards on 32 catches), scoring 16 total touchdowns.

Now, teams are trying to decide which position to place 5-foot-11, 185-pound athlete with 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

Some schools have hinted about moving him across the ball to defense, while others believe he's a perfect speedy running back. But if Liggins gets his way he'll be catching passes instead of taking handoffs or piling up tackles next fall.

"I think I'm suited better as a wide receiver," Liggins said. "I say that because of my concentration. I feel like I concentrate fully on everything and over-exaggerate every play. I have good mechanics.

"Running back requires more power and I'm more of an agile guy who can change directions quickly, avoiding contact instead of going through it."

The opportunity to play receiver is part of what draws Liggins to Tulane.

In the Green Wave's newly incorporated offense, Liggins was informed his skills would be a perfect fit in the slot receiver position.

After speaking with recruiting coordinator Doug Lichtenberger, he understands the dynamics of Tulane's base formation and how well his abilities mesh with the Wave's attack.

Liggins said he's also attracted to Tulane's academics, proximity to home (four hours away) and ability to get on the field early.

"I really just started looking closely at Tulane but I'm starting to like them more and more," Liggins said. "Every time I find out something new about them its better and I keep finding out different stuff. I haven't really done anything with them yet, other than talk to a coach though."

Liggins said he is trying to schedule an unofficial visit to New Orleans for later in the month, prior to the start of fall camp. Then, he'd like to take another during a Wave home game in the Superdome.

"I want to go to both," Liggins said. "I want to take in the sights and see the school and the other weekend see the football side a little bit closer.

"No matter where I go, I just want to be beneficial for the team I play for. I think if I do things the best I can for myself it can help whatever place I end up."

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