Strom Thurmond’s Leysath chooses Lenoir-Rhyne

  • Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Staff photo by Jeremy Timmerman
Strom Thurmond’s Demetrius Leysath, front center, signed to play football at Lenoir-Ryhne, joined by parents David and Twilla Leysath. Standing, from left, are head coach Lee Sawyer, assistant coach Tony Hillary, assistant coach Antwaun Hillary and athletic director Louis Scott.
Staff photo by Jeremy Timmerman Strom Thurmond’s Demetrius Leysath, front center, signed to play football at Lenoir-Ryhne, joined by parents David and Twilla Leysath. Standing, from left, are head coach Lee Sawyer, assistant coach Tony Hillary, assistant coach Antwaun Hillary and athletic director Louis Scott.

JOHNSTON — During his time at Strom Thurmond High School, safety Demetrius Leysath has garnered a reputation as a ferocious hitter. On Wednesday, he confirmed plans to further that reputation at Lenoir-Ryhne University.

Rebels head coach Lee Sawyer said Leysath first caught his attention as a threat on the defensive side of the ball when Leysath was in middle school.

“His eighth-grade year, I went to watch one of our middle schools play Saluda. ... I saw this safety just nail the running back short of the first down,” Sawyer said, noting the tackle came at a crucial point of the game. “He kind of jumped out and grabbed me way back then.”

Since, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back has had the same impact opposing offensive players. This season, the All-Aiken Standard second-team selection accounted for 69 tackles to go with a team-best five forced fumbles and 15 passes broken up.

Leysath, who owns a 4.11 GPA in the classroom, said he’ll be pursuing a sports management degree at the school in Hickory, N.C., and that he chose Lenoir-Rhyne over North Greenville for several reasons.

“I think they have great academics, they have a good football program and I think it’ll be a perfect fit for me,” he said. “I just like the overall community of it; I think it’s a family-oriented program.”

Leysath will join a squad coming off a successful season. The Bears finished No. 20 with a 9-3 record overall and 6-1 mark in conference as South Atlantic Conference champions. They advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament.

In Leysath – known as “Sandman” for his ability to deliver jarring hits – Sawyer said the Bears and head coach Mike Houston are getting a player with a “physical ability to make contact” that has been evident for some time now.

“For me, in my opininion, kind of like he was for us – an extra linebacker in the secondary,” Sawyer said, adding that Leysath is “as physical a player as we’ve ever had here since I’ve been here.”

Leysath said that he’s learned several lessons on and off the field as a Rebel. He noted that he’s looking forward to developing many of those same aspects of his life at the college level.

“Basically, becoming a better man, athlete, student, and learning how things work in life and how to deal with them in life as I get older,” he said. “And I think Strom Thurmond football, not only has it helped me in football, but it helped me becoming a better man in life.”

Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.

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