Ohio Athlete Darron Lee Gets UI Offer

Among the large contingent of Junior Day visitors Saturday was a promising athlete from Ohio. Darron Lee was happy to receive a Fighting Illini scholarship offer afterward. It appears he may witness Illini offensive and defensive coaches fighting over which side of the ball they play him should he attend Illinois. He has potential at multiple positions.

Darron Lee was excited to receive a scholarship offer from Illinois Saturday.

"I think it's an honor from the staff and a great coach. Coach (Tim) Beckman is a great guy; I talked with him for a while."

One brief visit was insufficient to answer all his questions about the school.

"I didn't really get too much time to look around the campus. They invited me to come back whenever I have a chance to see what it's like and what Illinois has to offer."

Lee is a two-way standout at New Albany, Ohio, so there is some debate as to his best college position.

"Coach Beckman talked to me about wide receiver and safety. I also talked to Coach (Alex) Golesh and Coach (Tim) Banks. I'll talk to Coach Beckman about quarterback the next time I see him."

Yes, he also plays quarterback. Let him explain what happened last fall.

"The season went really well. I had an injury in week two, so they let the senior quarterback take over. So that opened me up to play wide receiver and safety. It ended up being a benefit to see what I can do at different positions. But overall on the year, it was pretty nice."

Did he know some of the Illinois coaches prior to their arrival on campus?

"Yes I did. Coach Golesh and Coach Beckman came in to see me last year in April when they were at Toledo. And I knew Coach Banks when he was at Cincinnati."

Does the 6'-3", 205 pounder prefer one side of the ball over the other?

"I prefer to be on the offensive side the ball. But I really don't have a problem playing defense whatsoever. If the team needs me and I can help, if I'm playing receiver but the team needs me at safety, I'd be able to play it. I just want to play as much as I can."

His athleticism is his biggest asset as a football player. That versatility helps with multiple positions.

"I think my assets are my height and my speed. On the offensive side, I have the ability to almost score at will. I have a 36.5" vertical, which is pretty valuable I guess. And I guess on the defensive side, I make plays when needed."

Lee has worked to perfect his route running.

"Just recently, I've been working on getting in and out of my cuts. I find myself getting better every day. I do drills designed to improve quickness and my vertical. There's always room for improvement in every aspect of the game."

Illinois was not his first offer.

"I have offers from Boston College, Toledo, Bowling Green, Kent State, Illinois and Purdue. I'm going to Boston College in about two weeks just because they were my first offer."

Will he be able to make a return trip to C-U?

"I might be able to come back for the spring game. But I run track, so I'll have to see with my schedule.

"In track, I run the 200 and do the high jump. And I do the 400 and the 4 x 400. This is my first time coming back to track in about 2 to 3 years. So I wouldn't really know my times. But in the indoor, I ran the 200 in 23.4, and in the 400 I ran a 51.0. Hopefully I'll get faster here in the next couple of months."

Lee is an intelligent young man who has a good idea what he wants in a college.

"I'm looking for that unity, a family with the coaching staff. And then I'm looking for a school that is good at what I'm wanting to study. So that's going to play a factor in where I decide to go to school. I plan to go into Business."

New Albany had a good season in 2011, losing in the second round of the playoffs. Residing about 20 miles outside Columbus, one might think Lee prefers Ohio State.

"I'm not from Ohio, so Ohio State was never really a favorite. I'm from Tennessee. Them being here, perhaps they have a little bit of an advantage. Hometown team. But distance is not a factor for me."

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