By John Goolsby
Zayden Leonard is a self-starter that excels on the gridiron and in the classroom. He started playing football at Moody High School, but a torn ACL cost him his sophomore year. After a transfer to Shades Valley, he began focusing on basketball as a junior.
Leonard thought his time on the football field was over, but Rueben Nelson had an idea that the big senior could help the Mounties. “Coach Nelson saw me in the hallway and asked me to play,” Leonard said. “That’s when I decided I would give it a chance.”
Because of his high character and leadership qualities, the right guard has been a great addition to the Mountie football team this year.
Leonard is an exceptional student. He has a 4.1 GPA and is in the top 10 in his class. After high school, he plans on getting an undergraduate degree in biology.
While most kids try to ease through their senior year, Leonard does not. “When he registered for his senior year, I told Zayden to take some easy classes,” his mom, Mimi Leonard, said. “I was not surprised when he told me he was taking all AP classes.”
In addition to maintaining exceptional grades, Leonard helps manage his family’s restaurant. “He has been a great influence on his little brother,” said his mom.
Leonard’s goals for the year are to finish the 2022 football season strong and have an excellent senior season with the Mountie basketball squad.
Leonard has left his mark on the football team and will be remembered as someone who always gave their best as a scholar-athlete.