Leonard Floyd earned his first scholarship offer in the summer of 2010 from Georgia and it wasn‚Äôt long before Alabama followed suit.
‚ÄúI remember going to a camp over there,‚Äù Floyd said.
The Alabama secondary coach back then was Jeremy Pruitt and the Crimson Tide‚Äôs new director of player development was Kevin Sherrer.
Floyd remembered both in January when Georgia hired Pruitt from Florida State as its defensive coordinator and Sherrer from South Alabama to help coach linebackers.
‚ÄúWe wanted him,‚Äù Jeremy Pruitt said of Floyd. ‚ÄúWe didn‚Äôt get him.‚Äù
Now they‚Äôve got the sophomore pass rusher.
Floyd, out of Dodge County, picked Georgia over Alabama and Florida in April of 2011 and after a year at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy made an impact for the Bulldogs as an outside linebacker last season in Todd Grantham‚Äôs 3-4 scheme.
Floyd led Georgia with 6 ¬Ω sacks and had 55 tackles, 9 ¬Ω tackles for loss and two forced fumbles during a season he was named to the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team.
Now, Floyd is lining up at sam outside linebacker or defensive end under Pruitt.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs probably a harder role because I‚Äôm in the trenches more,‚Äù Floyd said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm in the three-point stance more than I was last year.‚Äù
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Floyd has embraced his role in the new system. He says he‚Äôs dropping into coverage less and spending more time trying to get after the quarterback.
‚ÄúI love it,‚Äù Floyd said. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt have to think as much. All I‚Äôve got to do is think about rushing.‚Äù
The old saying in football is it‚Äôs not about the Xs and Os but the Jimmies and Joes.
That‚Äôs true with a talent like Floyd.
‚ÄúI think Leonard Floyd is just a great player and he‚Äôs going to fit into any defensive scheme that you put him in,‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúBut he‚Äôs doing well, he‚Äôs doing well. He‚Äôs got some technical things to perfect, but he plays hard as heck. He‚Äôs got great leverage, he‚Äôs got these long arms, he‚Äôs athletic, he‚Äôs quick and he just likes football. He plays hard, he practices hard, he‚Äôs a really good player.
Floyd spends most of his practice time with Sherrer.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs all about technique,‚Äù Floyd said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôll have us doing it over and over until we do it right.‚Äù
Sherrer walked into a Georgia program where he is working at linebacker with Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, two of the most talented players on Georgia‚Äôs defense.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre obviously great players,‚Äù Sherrer said. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve played a lot of football since they‚Äôve been here and we had some good players (at South Alabama), but this is Georgia, the SEC. They‚Äôre seasoned guys, they‚Äôre mature and they‚Äôre helping the younger guys in that room too kind of understand what they have to do to kind of get into coach Pruitt‚Äôs defensive philosophy.‚Äù
Ray Drew, a pretty good pass rusher in his own right, isn‚Äôt shy to heap praise Floyd‚Äôs way.
‚ÄúLeonard Floyd is a man,‚Äù Drew said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs awesome. Violence off the ball with his hands. For an offensive lineman, he‚Äôs a nightmare. He‚Äôs quick, he‚Äôs powerful. He‚Äôs a presence off the edge, great in this defense.‚Äù