Meet N.C. A&T’s veteran receiver Zachary Leslie

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Kamryn Jackson, theScore Lead Reporter

Originally from Lawndale, Aggies senior wide receiver Zachary Leslie brings a new meaning to ‘going out with a bang’ for his final season with N.C. A&T’s football team.

Like plenty of college athletes, sports have been a part of Leslie’s life since adolescence.

“I’ve been playing football since I was in kindergarten. I could’ve played any sport but football is what I fell in love with first. My father is why I got into the sport,” Leslie said.

Leslie was a standout at Burns High School in Lawndale, North Carolina, before spending a season at Palmetto Prep Academy in South Carolina. Unfortunately, Leslie’s senior season in high school was cut short due to injury, which limited the number of collegiate offers the athlete had.

Despite Leslie’s shortened senior season, N.C. A&T saw the talent and potential in the athlete and extended an offer to Leslie to become a part of the Aggies football team.

Leslie had his breakout season at N.C. A&T as a Redshirt Sophomore. Leslie made 50 receptions for nearly 700 yards and nine touchdown receptions that season. He was second in the MEAC in receiving touchdowns and ranked 26th in total receiving touchdowns.

During Leslie’s breakout season, the Aggies defeated Alcorn State in the Celebration Bowl 24-22, where Leslie caught the game-opening touchdown. The Aggies also won the HBCU national championship and Leslie played a significant role.

After having the 2020 season canceled due to Covid-19 and having a limited play in 2021 due to injury, Leslie was more than ready to show up and show out for his last ride with the Aggies.

This season, Leslie has four receiving touchdowns on 29 receptions and a total of 502 receiving yards. Leslie has had three straight games with 100+ receiving yards, proving that he is a deep threat averaging 17.3 receiving yards per reception.

The Aggies were not strangers to trials and tribulations this year, as they had a rocky 0-3 start to the season. Despite an 0-3 start, the team did not fold under the pressure that Aggie fans were putting on the team.

“Every team has to hit adversity at some point,” Leslie said. “We could’ve folded but we grinned and got back on track. After an 0-3 start, we knew we had doubters but look at us now, we all we got,” Leslie said.

The Aggies are currently on a seven-game winning streak, having not dropped a game since September. The Aggies are showing fans and doubters what a true turnaround season looks like as they stand at 7-3 and lead the Big South.

The season for the Aggies is still ongoing. Since the Aggies currently top the Big South, the team will likely have the opportunity to play in the playoffs and compete for a national championship.

Leslie mentioned what his team needs to do to keep up the momentum.

“We just have to come out and play our game and not worry too much about our opponent. As long as we don’t kill ourselves, we’ll be good,” Leslie said.

The Aggies final regular season game is Sat. Nov. 19 against Gardner-Webb. For updates on the Aggies football team, visit N.C. A&T Football.