With the 169th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns have selected Georgia goaltender Richard LeCounte.
He will compete with Sheldrick Redwine, Jovante Moffatt, Elijah Benton and Grant Delpit for playing time.
As he embarks on the next chapter of his footballing career, here’s a look at three things to know about Richard LeCounte.
– Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 1, 2021
1. Phenom in high school
Almost from the start, LeCounte was an aspiring star as a rookie at Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Georgia.
“Richard was a freshman and he caught two one-handed interceptions in front of Florida coach DJ Durkin,” New England Patriots linebacker Raekwon McMillan (and former Liberty star) recalled. “Durkin said he was the best freshman he’s ever seen in his life.”
“He was head and shoulders above the rest of his age athletically and mentally on the court,” said McMillan.
During his time at Liberty, LeCounte excelled on the grill, hardwood and athletics.
In 2015-16 alone, he helped the Panthers reach the GHSA AAAA Class State Title game in basketball.
LeCounte’s team defeated Jonesboro High School and the Panthers won their first championship, finishing with an outstanding 28-1 record.
A few months later, LeCounte competed in the high jump and achieved 6’4 ”.
Later that year, the Panthers reached the second round of the state playoffs in football and finished 8-4.
LeCounte’s numbers for the 2016 football season were 100 total tackles, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two picks and two defensive touchdowns.
He also played on offense and added 25 receptions for 564 yards, four touchdowns, 865 rushing yards and seven other touchdowns, and even threw for 506 yards and six casual-duty touchdown passes in the quarterback.
“It seems like every tackle I was saying ‘tackle from Richard Lecounte. Tackle assisted by Richard LeCounte, ”said Derrick Mitchell, who was the public announcer for some of LeCounte’s games. “I called her name so much that I was looking for someone else’s name to call.
This is the big week for @LilEasy_35!
I caught up with Derrick Mitchell, one of his former coaches, to talk about what made LeCounte special. pic.twitter.com/eVOimV73AH
— Andrew Goldstein (@AndyGold24) April 27, 2021
LeCounte’s athletic skills earned him the 3-AAAA Co-Region Player of the Year award for basketball.
He was also recognized as Male Athlete of the Year by the Savannah Morning News.
In addition, LeCounte was named Defensive Player of the Year 2016 across the Great Savannah.
After receiving dozens of college offers as a 5-star rookie, LeCounte accepted a scholarship to play for Kirby Smart in Georgia.
2. The fantastic 2019 season led to the 2020 preseason accolades
LeCounte had a monster year for the Bulldogs in 2019 and was named the program’s most improved co-defensive player after the season.
Among the many highlights of the year, LeCounte was: Georgia’s third tackle with 61 total saves, led the SEC in fumbles recoveries with three and was second in the SEC with four interceptions.
He had two interceptions in the Bulldogs Sugar Bowl win over Baylor.
https://t.co/4oCBYKluFW First game, it claypool decks 😂 Welcome to Cleveland
– Drew (@WickedDrew) May 1, 2021
His efforts in 19 heralded a huge 2020.
Prior to the start of last season, LeCounte was on the preseason watchlists for the Bednarik Award (Collegiate Defensive Player of the Year), the Jim Thorpe Award (best DB in the country) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best player defense of the country).
3. Traffic accident almost ends LeCounte’s football career and life
LeCounte has exceeded expectations in the first five games of the 2020 season.
At that time, he had 26 total tackles, three interceptions and four breakouts.
Then it all fell apart (literally) on Halloween.
While riding an off-road motorcycle, he was struck by a vehicle making a left turn.
After the collision, LeCounte and his bicycle were thrown into oncoming traffic where he was struck by another vehicle.
In the process, LeCounte suffered cuts, bruises and a shoulder injury.
Although none of his injuries required surgery, things could have been much worse.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” said his mother, Erika Blocker-LeCounte. “He was wearing his helmet and [that] saved his life.
LeCounte returned for the Bulldogs’ Peach Bowl game against Cincinnati.
He stayed on the sidelines for most of the contest until Smart sent him in for the match’s final game.
Remarkably, LeCounte’s limited stats in 2020 have always led to a nod from the All SEC first-team.
LeCounte is expected to be perfectly healthy and ready for the 2021 Browns season.
Richard LeCounte says NFL teams are questioning him about the off-road motorcycle accident and he tells them what happened.
Overall he feels great physically and feels like he performed well at Pro Day, but he still believes there is room for improvement. pic.twitter.com/tqUT37Fmd3
– Alison Mastrangelo (@AlisonWSB) March 17, 2021