Fairhope’s Leonard named Duke's starting quarterback

Many more former Baldwin County standouts to kickoff college season this weekend

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/29/22

Fairhope alum and Duke quarterback Riley Leonard highlights a group of football players who graduated from Baldwin County schools that hold college roster spots entering this weekend’s …

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Fairhope’s Leonard named Duke's starting quarterback

Many more former Baldwin County standouts to kickoff college season this weekend

Posted

Fairhope alum and Duke quarterback Riley Leonard highlights a group of football players who graduated from Baldwin County schools that hold college roster spots entering this weekend’s season-opening games.

Last weekend, Leonard was announced as the Blue Devils’ starting quarterback as only a sophomore heading into Friday’s season opener against the Temple Owls at home. He beat out classmate Jordan Moore who reportedly also took snaps at receiver throughout camp.

"After a very intense quarterback battle this fall, we have decided to go with Riley Leonard as our starting quarterback," Duke head coach Mike Elko said in a statement. "We are excited to see him lead our team this fall, and we also know that Jordan Moore will be an impact player for our offense in many roles as well."

In seven games of action last year where he started against Virginia Tech, Leonard completed 37 passes for 381 yards and a touchdown to go along with 173 rushing yards on 47 carries and two touchdowns.

Burkhalter, James, Williams find new homes

Leonard might see a familiar face opposite him in the Blue Devils’ second conference game in Atlanta against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Former Spanish Fort Toro and current redshirt freshman defensive lineman, Christian Burkhalter transferred to Georgia Tech after injury troubles at UCLA as a true freshman last year. The former three-star prospect has four years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Burkhalter is one of many former Toros on college rosters currently and was recently joined by DJ James in the transfer portal. James transferred from Oregon to Auburn where he enters his junior season with 70 career tackles and two interceptions.

Another former Baldwin County standout who found a new college home is Christian Williams who graduated from Daphne and chose Miami from a slew of Division I offers in 2019. Ahead of the 2021 season, he transferred to the University of South Florida where he racked up 20 tackles and two interceptions in seven games.

Bayside’s Loper, Foley’s Roper meet in Tuscaloosa

Jay Loper is another Daphne native although he recently graduated from Bayside Academy after he earned a roster spot with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The 5’ 11”, 180-pound receiver is joined on that roster by another true freshman in former Foley Lion Ty Roper, who checked in as a 5’ 8”, 189-pound defensive back.

South Alabama, Huntingdon host plethora of local players

The rosters for the South Alabama Jaguars and Huntingdon Hawks are both heavy with former local players with 15 total between the two schools, eight at USA and seven at HC.

South Alabama’s roster features a quartet of Spanish Fort Toros (Carlos Johnson, Jalen Wayne, Cooper Wilson, Brady Wiggins) and a pair of Fairhope Pirates (Blayne Myrick, Logan Lanicek) as well as a single Daphne Trojan (Diego Guajardo) and Baldwin County Tiger (Tyler Jernigan) each.

A trio of Elberta Warriors (Hayden Hinson, Nathan Steiner, Nicholas Thrift) leads the way on Huntingdon’s roster alongside a Gulf Shores Dolphin (Charlie Hollis), Baldwin County Tiger (Randy Jones), Foley Lion (Zander Bonifay) and Spanish Fort Toro (Aaron Threat).

A non-comprehensive list of other locals on college rosters, by high school

Baldwin County High

Southern Mississippi: Ty Mims

Bayside Academy

Trinity University: Steadman Jones, Mac Douglas

Daphne

Alabama A&M: Cameron Young

Memphis: James Quinnelly

Samford: Midnight Steward

Texas Christian: Trent Battle

Fairhope

Air Force: Luke Freer

Birmingham Southern: Jayson Jarrell

Coast Guard: Glenn Patrick

Faulkner: Trenton Spaller, Bryson Martin

Foley

Faulkner: Essex Casey IV

Gulf Shores

Faulkner: Hunter Morton

Kennesaw State: Rodney Taylor Jr.

North Alabama: Rhett Riles

Texas Tech: Tavares Elston Jr.

Robertsdale

Faulkner: Haven Davis

UAB: Taven Curry

Spanish Fort

Alabama State: Jeremiah Hixon

Missouri: Kris Abrams-Draine

North Alabama: Nathan Brown, Corson Swan

Samford: Alex Jarrell

Towson: Tyler Johnston III

Troy: Grant Betts

UAB: Carl Fauntroy Jr., Matt Quinn, Mike Crawford, Brady Wilson

Virginia: Micah Gaffney

St. Michael Catholic

Birmingham Southern: Austin Maloney, Luke Edmiston

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