Freeman was himself a duelist in 2012, with his 145 tackles according to the Pro Football Reference ranked eighth in NFL history and stopped by a novice overall.
The all time record in a beginner's season is 174, set by Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. Leonard took on Sunday's game and had an average of 13 tackles per game – about three more than his average of 10 tackles per game – to break Willis' all-time rookie record
Leonard has now another feather in the cap to receive the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He stuffed the statues all year round and added seven sacks and four forced fumbles, both leading all NFL off-ball linebackers. Leonard also has eleven tackles, three re-takes and one interception.
Leonard has been named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Week for September, the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2 and twice the NFL Double Rookie of the Week twice for his appearances in Weeks 2 and 8 for his recent efforts.