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Two months ago, Vacaville Christian senior athlete Jaron Leaks felt the moment that all of the work was worth it.
Going through some challenging days, Leaks received a call that showed he was next level. Whittier, a Division III school in Southern California, sent an offer his way to play college football.
“It’s a blessing because all my hard work, my family and I went through a hard time with all the corona stuff and my grandpa being sick, so everything was falling apart,” Leaks said. “And then I get a call from a coach and he gave me a full scholarship. It opened my eyes more.”
That moment was indicative of what those around him saw early on: a budding star just waiting to be unleashed.
Leaks’ cousin, Latrelle Smith, who is a cornerback at William & Mary, saw something in Leaks right away.
He knew he was different.
“He had been telling me all the time to just keep working hard,” Leaks said. “‘It’s in you. You got it.’ So when I first got my offer from Whittier about two months ago, I was like, ‘Alright, I can really get used to this type of stuff.’ Just got to keep working hard.”
And so did his head coach, Manny Tarango.
When Leaks was living in Virginia, Tarango reached out to him. He knew Leaks used to live in the area and believed he could do something special at VCS.
“He called me and said, ‘We need a guy. I heard you used to be here before.’ So he brought me back in here and he really just trained me and said you got to be the leader of the team and really bring the energy to the guys,” Leaks said. “And coach T has brought this team so far because 2008 was our last playoff run, and being ablke to go from a 4-5 season my sophomore year to a 7-3 season my junior year – we really came from the ground up.”
Leaks arrived at VCS as a 6-1, 175-pound athlete and played outside receiver. He had the skills for the spot, but he did not have the speed yet.
But Leaks kept growing. He kept working, and the results have shown.
Right now, Leaks is 6’3.5″. He’s over 200 pounds. Plus, he’s dominating every step of the way.
Also a basketball player, Leaks’ athleticism shows on the field whenever he plays. Despite suffering an injury his junior season in 2019, he hauled in four touchdown grabs and 395 receiving yards, adding another 40 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery defensively in Vacaville Christian’s run to a 7-5 record and a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII semifinals.
“I think his stock just keeps going up,” Tarango said. “He was ranked as a three-star athlete from Elite Raw, and the kid’s the real deal, and I don’t mean that just because he’s my football and one of the basketball kids on the team as well.”
Boasting a strong work ethic, there isn’t a day when Leaks isn’t out there pushing himself and his teammates to continue the climb into the elite.
He and fellow VCS star Kendall Allen are working out all the time together. Whether it is texts or facetimes, they are always working on how to get better – getting up early, running a few miles, training.
They want it bad.
“One of the top prospects in 2021,” Allen said. “I feel like on the field we like, they try to put us on the same side on offense and defense, but as of right now I’m on the other side of him on offense. But he’s a boy. He can get after it. We and him workout all day together every day.”
“He’s out there working out,” Tarango said. “He’s doing his three workouts a day. He’s calling his teammates and having them meet up for runs in the morning. They’re going out and catching balls on their own and doing tennis ball work and all kinds of stuff like that. You’ve got guys like that and you’ve got those silent assassins.”
Colleges are taking notice, too.
Two months ago, Leaks was offered by Whittier. And Tarango said colleges are in communication daily with him about Leaks – including FCS, Division II and NAIA schools all interested in bringing in his talents to their program.
Everyone was right about Leaks.
“We’ve got about six Division II, Division I FCS schools that want to see him as a DB,” Tarango said. “That’s a big DB. 6-3, probably 210 pounds. That’s a very big corner, and so we’ve got schools that are interested in him like that. We’ve got some same level schools that want to see him as a tight end, Y, hybrid kind of like what you’re seeing with (Travis) Kelces and the world and the (Rob) Gronkowskis and stuff like that.”
CONGRATULATIONS 🙌🏽🎉🎊🔥SINCE I MEET YOU I CARED FOR YOU I HAVEN’T STOP PRAYING, YOU ARE BECOMING SUCH AN OUTSTANDING YOUNG MAN. YOU DESERVE GOD’S BEST. LET THE LORD LEAD YOUR PATH IN ALL YOU DO. YOU REALLY DOING IT STAY FOCUS. SO PROUD OF YOU EVEN WHEN IT WAS HARD YOU PUSHED THOROUGH IT.🏈🥇🏅🎖🏆🏀
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