Leigh Torrence may not be a household name to Redskins fans in the Washington, D.C., area. But he is to many kids in southwest Atlanta.
The Redskins' cornerback founded the South West Atlanta Youth Foundation, which mentors and assists youth as they strive to realize their full potential.
In June, he hosted 457 campers at Atlanta's Frederick Douglass High School for his second annual 4th Down Fundamentals Football and Cheerleading Camp.
During the day, campers concentrated on developing key football and cheerleading fundamentals while being introduced to life skill concepts.
They received hands-on guidance from 12 NFL players, including Torrence, Lions cornerback Stanley Wilson (his roommate at Stanford), and Falcons All-Pro tight end Alge Crumpler.
Soon after, the city of Atlanta honored Torrence, an Atlanta native, with an award for outstanding community service. That recognition was somewhat overshadowed this summer by the news surrounding Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.
Said Torrence: "I'm really trying to push to do positive things for the youth and being a football player, you like to get that publicity pushed in a positive direction.
"We had a lot of negative things in Atlanta this offseason. It would have been nice to see a little more of a focus placed on the positive things athletes and NFL players are doing to help kids in their communities. There are a lot more people doing good than doing things wrong."
Torrence is with his third NFL team. Originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as a rookie free agent in April 2005, he was released and ended up playing 10 games for the Falcons in the 2005 season, before being cut again just before the start of the 2006 campaign.
He did not play until signing with the Redskins just before the end of the 2006 season.
Torrence was widely considered a long shot to make the Redskins' roster this year. But hard work and determination, plus foot speed, helped him earn a spot with the burgundy and gold.
"Leigh Torrence is one of the fastest guys we've timed in an off-season workout since I've been here," Gregg Williams said recently. "He's the fastest guy I know that I have ever put a stopwatch on since I came to the Redskins. You can't coach speed.
"He has stepped up on special teams. In order for a young corner to make it in this league, and especially a young, undrafted corner, that player has to be able to be a force on special teams, too."
Torrence got off to a fast start on special teams this season. He recorded two special teams tackles in the Redskins' season-opening, 16-13 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Last Sunday, in the Redskins' 17-14 loss at Green Bay, Torrence led the club with three special teams tackles. On one play, he showcased his speed by bursting past a blocker and tripping up dangerous punt returner Charles Woodson with an arm tackle.
On defense, Torrence has since seen spot duty, some of it coming at key junctures.
Torrence played most of the fourth quarter against the Eagles in Week 2, including the next-to-last series when the defense stopped Philly just short of the goal line to preserve a 20-12 victory.
The following week, he saw time as a nickel back against the Giants.
In the 34-3 romp over the Lions at FedExField in Week 5, Torrence went head-to-head with Wilson, his good friend, on special teams coverage. Torrence said the two talked trash to each other while battling on the field, but that it was all in fun.
Torrence and Wilson roomed together from freshman football camp until the end of their senior seasons at Stanford.