Marcus Leak, a promising Maryland wide receiver who averaged 17.1 yards per catch before being sidelined late last season with a broken toe, has withdrawn from the school but says he plans to return next year.
Even with the rising junior’s departure, wide receiver remains one of Maryland’s deepest positions. But his decision is a blow because Leak, who is from Charlotte, N.C., had emerged as a deep threat and complement to leading playmaker Stefon Diggs.
Leak, who finished second on the team with 23 receptions in just seven games, cited unspecified “personal issues.” A source said the sophomore was not being punished and was in good academic standing.
““I have withdrawn from the University of Maryland and will return home to North Carolina to be with my family while I deal with some personal issues,” Leak said in a written statement. “It is my intention to return to College Park in January.”
In his breakout 2012 season, Leak -- who is 6 foot 1, 205 pounds -- appeared to be physical enough to snatch passes away from defenders in traffic.
In the season’s second game against Temple, Leak caught a 32-yard touchdown reception, then made a leaping, 39-yard catch, outjumping a pair of Temple defenders. He finished with three catches for 90 yards in Maryland’s 36-27 win.
Leak wears the number (82) once held by former Terps wide receiver Torrey Smith -- a player Leak said he had looked up to.
After missing spring practices while recovering from his toe injury, Leak would have been competing for playing time with highly touted transfer Deon Long at one of the receiver positions.
The other receiver spots are headed by Diggs, who led the team as a freshman with 54 catches for 848 yards and six touchdowns; and Nigel King, who will be a redshirt sophomore. Levern Jacobs, Malcolm Culmer, Amba Etta and Tyrek Cheeseboro are also expected to compete for playing time.
"They (the receivers) have the potential to be a really strong unit on our team this year,” offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said last month. “To have the skill that we have on the outside, I would say as a coaching staff we feel really good about our talent.”