Lee's Decision Day

It was business as usual for Zach Lee on Monday morning, taking reps with the LSU football team in what was their 12th practice session of the fall. With the Major League Baseball decision deadline looming, will the two-sport star be back in pads on Tuesday?

While the media won’t be allowed into the team’s 13th practice on Monday afternoon, all eyes will be on the whereabouts of Lee – who must decide by 11 p.m. CST whether he will stay in college or sign on with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

To call it a decision that could change the course of Tiger athletics would be selling the moment short.

On the baseball diamond, head coach Paul Mainieri looks to keep a weekend starter who can work three pitches, including a fastball in the 90s.

On the football field, Les Miles would keep a quarterback who looks on pace to be the future face of the program – no matter if he heads for the professional ranks after his junior season.

“Zach Lee is much further along in his approach and how he learns than really a number of quarterbacks I have been around,” Miles said. “He is very athletic and he has a good arm. He is the kind of guy that when he gets strength he will be as good a quarterback as there is.”

Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who recruited Lee out of McKinney, Texas, tabbed the newcomer as one of the most driven students of the game that he had come across.

“Right after (Lee) signed I was sending him information via email, he studied it, he knew it when he got here, he had questions about it and that was very impressive,” Crowton said. “His understanding of the game is very impressive at this point, and I feel very excited about him.

“As far as quarterback ready, I think anybody who has as good of a background like he does, is a hard worker like he is, has physical talent and size like he does, it gives you a chance to help in the program as quickly as he can put it all together. From that stand point he is probably a little ahead of some of the guys that have been here in the past.”

That means that if Lee stays, the light beyond the wake left by Ryan Perrilloux’s departure becomes a little more visible. While confidence continues to be gained in both Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, sights are focused on the next arm that can be groomed and let loose on the coaching staff’s timeline.

For a moment there was talk that Chris Garrett would be that name, but a surprising summer transfer to Northwestern State left it on another man named Lee.

If Zach Lee elects to go pro, LSU essentially would have not pulled in a quarterback between signing Jordan Jefferson in 2008 and landing Stephen Rivers in 2011, and Rivers – a rising high school senior in Alabama – is a long way from showing up in Baton Rouge and strapping on the helmet and pads.

While rumors have swirled that the Dodgers are willing to make their first-round selection an offer that would see a bonus in excess of $2 million, Lee maintained that – up through last week – discussion between the two sides was nonexistent.

“I haven't really heard anything from (Los Angeles),” said Lee during last Tuesday’s LSU Media Day. “They contacted me to let me know they drafted me. I haven't heard from them since. As far as I'm concerned, I'm here to stay until something else happens, and I don't really see it happening.”

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