Bring it to the house and I will diag it for you. I would not consider 2-3 inches a small leak, we need to fix that. Itry to address in order.
Shutter on take off is most commonly causes by blued or hot spots in the flywheel, not apparent when fully disengages but can be caused by an oil impregnanted disc.
Worn out pilot bushing will usually be felt as a vibration on decel on in gear, clutch in (worse when coupled with a bad input bearing) and/or of course a squealing noise when the clutch is in.
Lugging or shuttering in gear when letting of the gas is usually a result of gear ratio verses speed or vehicle and RPM.
Clutch adjustment will be indicated by slippage if too tight and can cause the throw out bearing to go bad and incomplete disengagement if too loose, over time just typical wear will create a need for maintenance adjustments, if left undone it can result in incomplete disengagement.
Bad throw out bearing will squeal or worse grind.
Bad/weak pressure plate can cause slipping under pressure accompanied with the smell like over heated brake pads. A pressure plate can also get hot spots and cause a shuttering when released, not apparent when fully disengages.
Wore out disc will cause slippage and the smell.
Danoh, Matt didn't mean anything by it, he's a good guy. We just try to stay on track when we can. Sounds to me like you need to shim your starter. I have also seen it effective to back the starter bolts off slightly and see if that cures the problem, if so tilt the start on the bolts so that the nose cone (and gear) is being moved away from the flywheel, this will usually cure it.
These are just my thoughts, right wrong or otherwise just trying to help.
Careful your character's showing