Leo Albano, BE's star athlete, will play football at Notre Dame
If you follow high school sports in the Lowcountry, there’s a really good chance that you have heard of Bishop England student-athlete Leo Albano. After all, he is arguably the best male athlete in the school’s 103-year history and is believed to be the school’s only all-state selection in three sports.
He was all-state in basketball the past couple of years after helping the Bishops to some of their best seasons in more than a decade.
He has been all-state in baseball as a pitcher and position player, and is one of the big reasons why the Bishops are seeking their second straight state championship.
And he has been all-state in football the past three years. He’s been a starter since his freshman season and he pretty much rewrote the BE record book for single-season and career marks.
But what you might not know about Albano is that he’s just as outstanding in the classroom. That’s why he’s matriculating to South Bend, Indiana to play football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as a preferred walk-on.
“I’m just happy to be going to Notre Dame,” Albano said. “I wasn’t even thinking about football when I applied. Things just fell into place.”
Just what is a preferred walk-on? A preferred walk-on is guaranteed to have a spot on the 105-man roster from day one of practice, even though he doesn’t have a scholarship. A walk-on must try out for a spot on the team.
Hunter Renfrow might be the best, recent example of a walk-on. The Myrtle Beach native played quarterback in high school but moved over to wide receiver at Clemson. He caught the game winning pass with two seconds remaining in Clemson’s national championship win over Alabama to cap off the 2017 season.
Albano, who tallied nearly 7,600 yards in total offense in high school, will also move from quarterback to wide receiver. There’s a chance that he might play on the other side of the ball as a defensive back.
“He [Renfrow] was a quarterback and a good baseball player as well,” Albano said. “I see a lot of similarities. He’s proof that anything is possible.”
But back to those grades of student-athlete Albano. Bishop England coach John Cantey said his academics were just as important as his talent in getting ND coach Brian Kelly’s attention.
Albano began is senior year at BE with a 5.1 GPA on the school’s weighted scale. He was No. 5 in the senior class, academically. He plans to major in chemical engineering.
“There were times, during practice, that I didn’t think Leo would make it through the entire practice,” Cantey said. “He just seemed so spent because he would be up so late studying the night before. That’s how important education is to him. He works hard as an athlete, but he works even harder as a student.”
Albano was one of three BE student-athletes to take part in last week’s signing ceremonies. Tennis standout Lleyton Dacuba signed with Queens College while Drew Bobey also signed to play tennis. She will play for Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island.