May 15, 2009

Two-sport Texan intrigued by Rebels

Zach Lee will make more than one coach very happy come February.

The McKinney, Texas, quarterback has offers from eight different BCS schools - including Ole Miss - but it's not just about the gridiron. Lee is also a top-level pitcher that is looking for a home where he can excel on the diamond as well.

Football is the focus, but interested schools also need to not be a slouch in baseball in order to attract Lee and secure a signature on signing day.

"I plan on playing both sports in college, and everyone on my list has said I can do that," Lee said. "I'm paying attention to the football staffs first, but all the schools' baseball teams matter as well. My offer list has several colleges that fulfill both needs."

Lee - who rates as the No. 9 pro-style quarterback nationally and a four-star prospect -- has confirmed offers from Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Arizona State and Arizona. Out of those schools, Ole Miss and Alabama are the only ones ranked in the current Baseball America Top-25 and the final Associated Press football poll for 2008.

Lee (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) threw for 2,953 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2008. He also added 11 touchdowns rushing.

"I think Ole Miss brings a very explosive offense to the table in football, and that is exciting," Lee said. "I really hope to get out there. Their baseball program speaks for itself with sustained success and the chance to win nationally every year, and this past football year was great. It's exciting, and they should be a contender. I would have the opportunity to play both sports at a very high level.

"I think their offense is a good mix. I've haven't taken many snaps under center, so I would like some spread components, but at the same time, you want to be an all-around quarterback. But I do need a little spread background."

The two-sport star has visited LSU and Oklahoma thus far - along with a trip to Texas Tech more than a year ago -- and plans to take in several more schools in the coming weeks. However, the exact dates are difficult due to that other sport Lee excels in.

McKinney High School began the state baseball playoffs Thursday, and those obligations along with invitation-only baseball tryouts and events will keep Lee busy throughout the summer. Baseball has already prevented him from attending the Elite 11Quarterback Camp in Fort Worth, Texas.

Lee can spot his fastball at 93 MPH while possessing an adequate curve ball and plus change-up. In March, he was named a Perfect Game First Team All-American.

The right-hander, who is 8-0 with a 1.30 ERA in 2009, spent part of the 2007 summer as a member of the Under-16 Team USA National Team in Venezuela, and he's been asked to tryout for the Under-18 squad this July. Those types of commitments are making the football visits tough to take time for.

"I really need to fit it all in during the first part of June," Lee said. "Team USA tryouts are June 22, and I could also have the AFLAC All-America game and the Area Code Games (a premier all-star event played in Long Beach, Calif.)."

After visiting "four or five campuses" over the next month or so, Lee wants to make a commitment before football season begins. But the chosen school isn't clear of danger, even with a signature, as Lee should be scooped up in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft.

"I'm just waiting to see what happens with the draft and not counting on it by any means," Lee said. "If picked, I'll talk to my parents and figure it out. But right now, I'm concentrated on baseball and picking a college to play both sports."

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