Former Florida Gators quarterback Chris Leak returned to his alma mater in May as a defensive quality control assistant (intern) with the football program. On Wednesday, Florida announced that Leak and former Gators defensive end Duke Lemmens were both accepted into graduate school and will be graduate assistants for the team this fall.
Though Leak was working with the defense over the summer – scouting and breaking down film for game-planning purposes while assisting the coaches but not teaching players – he and Lemmens will now be able to work hand-in-hand with the players, each coaching offense and defense, respectively.
Lemmens, whose acceptance into Florida’s graduate school and subsequent hiring was first reported via the OnlyGators.com Twitter account on Saturday, had been waiting for official word from the school for the past few months.
The Most Valuable Player of the 2007 BCS Championship and the Gators’ career leader in pass attempts (1,458), completions (895) and passing yardage (11,213), Leak spent five seasons playing in the CFL and AFL, winning two Grey Cup rings as a backup quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes. He worked as a member of the media for the last two years, serving as co-host on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation and a college football analyst for CBS Sports.
Lemmens was a reserve until his senior season in 2010 when he was named a captain and started all 13 games for Florida, registering 43 tackles (18 solo, 6.5 for lost yardage), three sacks and a fumble recovery.
“I just took it upon myself to try and out-work everybody. It paid off. My teamamtes noticed, the coaches noticed, I got voted captain. I had a chip on my shoulder,” he told OnlyGators.com in May 2011.
Lemmens also expressed his fondness for D.J. Durkin, who is now Florida’s new defensive coordinator and effectively Lemmens’s boss on a day-to-day basis.
“Coach Durkin is as good of a technician as anyone I’ve ever seen. You can definitely tell that he was, back in the day, a [graduate assistant] for Coach [Greg] Mattison,” he said. “Coach Durkin became one of my real good friends while I was there. He was my coach, but he’s someone I still talk to. Playing for him is fun. It’s all about toughness, but you still have fun doing it. It’s not a chore. He has a bright future ahead of him.”