“Academic Heisman” Finalist
Chris Leak may be best known for his impressive football career, but his academic accomplishments are just as remarkable.
In addition to being recognized as an Outstanding Male Leader for his graduating class in December, Leak also was a finalist for the Draddy Trophy – also known as the Academic Heisman for college athletes.
Leak, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, came to the University of Florida in 2003 as the starting quarterback for the Gator football team. He immediately began to attract attention and respect through his impressive athletic performance. He led the Gators in a 6-3 record his first season, the highest winning percentage by a freshman quarterback in the country. He set school records in both touchdowns and passing yardage for a true freshman and achieved the best freshman totals in school history. He also was recognized as the National Football College Freshman of the year.
With a freshman record like this, it might seem difficult to keep impressing everyone, but Leak has managed to do it. He has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s College Football Preview issue, was listed as the pre-season Southeastern Conference MVP by Lindy’s publication, and was selected for the SEC Coaches and Media First-Team preseason All-SEC Teams. During the 2006 season, Leak broke the UF record for pass-completions and competed for the Heisman Trophy.
Leak leads by example on and off the field. He was listed on the SEC Academic Honor Roll each semester at UF. His mentors describe him as possessing tremendous motivation, compassion and the unique ability to lead by example. His peers agreed and elected him team captain three of the four years he played at UF.
When he’s not leading on the field, Leak volunteers with children through the Goodwill Gators Program, encouraging them to put school first and stay away from drugs if they want to succeed. At home in Charlotte, N.C., he works with the Boys and Girls Club and the Steel Creek Youth Athletic Association. He served as an inspirational speaker with the Federation of Christian Athletes and spoke at area middle schools encouraging students to stay focused on their goals.