When quarterback Tom Flacco left Rutgers as a graduate transfer for Towson ahead of the 2018 season, he immediately established a special connection with senior receiver Shane Leatherbury — and that connection is responsible for a chunk of Towson’s offensive production this year.
Flacco has thrown for 2,617 yards with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions, while Leatherbury has racked up 650 yards receiving and has hauled in 11 touchdowns. A year ago, Leatherbury caught 67 passes for 885 yards and seven scores.
“The summer [Flacco] got here, we were just throwing and catching whenever he could and whenever he needed somebody to throw to, I was there with him,” Leatherbury said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 20. “… We’re roommates, so we can pretty much watch film and I can figure out what he wants and he can figure out what I’m thinking.”
At 7-4, the Tigers are riding a three-game winning streak and are looking to secure an at-large bid in the FCS playoffs. Towson will host Elon Nov. 23 in the final regular-season game for both squads. Leatherbury, a quarterback coming out of Delmar (Del.) High School, will be helping lead the way for the Tigers’ offense.
He was not a big-name recruit coming out of high school and only got looks from a few schools before accepting an offer from Seton Hill, a Division II school. He played for Seton Hill in 2015, then returned to his hometown of Salisbury, Md., with hopes of still playing Division I football.
He later walked onto Towson’s football team. He logged 30 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns in 2017, his first season with the team. Despite the roller coaster of a journey, Leatherbury took full advantage of the chance he got at Towson and never looked back.
“It’s a pretty big chip on my shoulder, but I pretty much just try to prove to myself that I can play the game at a high level,” Leatherbury said. “… I was a quarterback coming out of high school, nobody knew that I could even catch the ball. … Everyone says that you are your own biggest critic, so I just had to prove to myself that I could play.”
Leatherbury has been inspired by players who made it to the NFL from Towson, including special teamers Jordan Dangerfield (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Tye Smith (Tennessee Titans). That motivates him to follow in their footsteps.
“That’s big-time to see those guys doing what they doing. It gives you hope,” Leatherbury said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from as long as you have talent, the league is going to find you. Once you’re in there, in the door, all you’ve got to do is kick it down and just keep playing. They’re showing what Towson guys can do and it’s giving us a really good look.”
With help from Leatherbury, the Tigers have played well this year, and Leatherbury is optimistic about what the team can accomplish this year.
“We’re capable of anything, the sky’s the limit,” Leatherbury said. “… Our motto is be 1-0 every week. You can play until they tell you to stop — that’s the goal.”
To hear more from Leatherbury, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: ENP Photography