LAKE VIEW, SC (WMBF) – Former Lake View Wild Gator and Indianapolis Colts Linebacker Darius Leonard was back in the Pee Dee on Friday night, and had his jersey retired by the school.
The surprise ceremony happened just before kick off against Charleston Charter School for Math & Science.Leonard had an extremely successful football career at Lake View, following in the footsteps of his brother and former NFL linebacker Anthony Waters.
After graduating from Lake View, Leonard would go on to play his college ball at SC State. He would become the all-time school leader in tackles and be named MEAC defensive player of the year in 2016 & 2017.Following college, Leonard would enter his name into the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Lake View native would be selected in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts (36th overall). During his rookie season, the Maniac, as he likes to be called, led the NFL in tackles with 163. He would also earn All-Pro honors and be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year helping the Colts make the AFC Divisional playoffs.This season, Leonard has one sack and 18 tackles in two games for the Colts (3-2), who are tied for the AFC South division lead.
He tells WMBF News that getting his jersey retired by Lake View is a dream come true, "It definitely means a lot, coming back home and being surprised and coming and getting a retired jersey. Knowing that all the work you put on the field in high school, college, and the NFL doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Leonard also gave back to his alma mater Friday. The Colts LB surprised 150 local kids from Lake View Elementary for a fun-filled event.
Each student received a brand-new backpack filled with new school supplies and a winter coat to help them prepare for the winter.
“Growing up I didn’t have too much. When my brother made it to the NFL I saw how much he gave back and saw how it makes everyone smile,” said Darius Leonard.
Leonard, who has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion in the Colts’ Week 2 victory over the Tennessee Titans, will look to make his return to the field when the Colts come off their bye week and host the Houston Texans during Week 7.