Lee to start Saturday against UVA

See that smile? For the Daytona Beach native, it's even bigger now.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden announced Monday night that Xavier Lee will start at quarterback for the Seminoles this weekend against Virginia.

It will be second start of Lee's collegiate career as he was under center against Maryland this past weekend.

"I am just going to prepare the same way that I did last week," Lee said. "Just work real hard in practice and everything carries over from the practice field to the game so I am going to work really hard at that."

Lee was given the reigns to the offense against the Terrapins because starting signal caller Drew Weatherford was suffering from an injury to a tendon in his foot that he sustained in practice last week. Weatherford was placed in a walking boot Monday and is slated to have a second magnetic resonance image (MRI) taken on Thursday.

His status as the backup for the game against the Cavaliers is not yet known. Walk-on Tommy Keane would serve as the No. 2 quarterback if Weatherford is not cleared.

"A lot of the reason why we couldn't see much was because there was a lot of inflammation and fluid in there when we took the first MRI so it wasn't clear," Weatherford said of the MRI that was taken Thursday of last week. "They know it's something that has to do with the tendon. They don't know if it's torn or if it's something in there."

As for Lee, his rise to the top of the depth chart adds a new chapter to a 2 1/ 2-year career in Tallahassee in which things haven't necessarily been easy.

Arguably one of the nation's premier recruits in 2004, Lee redshirted his first season at FSU. In the offseason prior to his redshirt freshman campaign he injured his shoulder and missed valuable time in competing for FSU's starting quarterback spot with Weatherford. He played sparingly last season and had offseason shoulder surgery this past spring preventing him from competing with Weatherford once again.

But despite his uphill battle and occasional rumor that he will transfer at some point in the future, Lee presently finds himself in the role he dreamed of one day having when he chose FSU.

"It's nice for me to see his hard work pay off," Weatherford said. "He's gone through shoulder surgery and rehab and got back from that. He's worked awfully hard to get to the situation he's in now and I am happy for him and I am happy to see him perform well."

And performing well like he did on the road against Maryland – 22-of-36 passing for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers – was surprising because of those afore mentioned setbacks.

He had been used in only a few situations this season and when he was granted significant amount of playing time, it appeared as though he squandered his opportunity to tighten the gap between he and Weatherford with a three-interception performance at Duke a few weeks ago.

In some ways, he resembled a different quarterback against the Terps. Perhaps it was a glimpse at the player he was in high school. The same dual-threat signal caller that broke nearly all of the prep passing records in the state of Florida at Daytona Beach-Seabreeze.

"You had that second quarter against Duke and you've had other times but he might be the kind of guy that you give him the ball and say okay it's your game," Bowden said of Lee's inability in two years to make an impact. "Some pitchers are that way I understand. It might be a good sign. You don't know what the future holds but thank goodness Xavier's here."

With the worst record in 30 years, the Seminole football program has been in need of a spark to reenergize the team, fans and the city of Tallahassee.

That spark may come in the form of Lee.

Against the Terrapins, the usual stagnant FSU offense seemed to be more wide open under the direction of a player known for his ability to avoid the rush, move the chains with his legs and throw fastballs. In some ways it could be argued that his athletic ability is more suited for an offense like that of FSU's that performs much better outside the hash marks.

"He's kind of like a Vince Young, Michael Vick kind of guy," sophomore tailback Antone Smith said. "When he's on the perimeter you don't know if he's going to run or throw it. He keeps guys on their toes.

"I ain't gonna lie, I love to watch him. He's an exciting guy."

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