Commentary

Devin Lee expected to take the reins next season

Updated: March 14, 2009, 7:41 PM ET
By Mike Loveday | ESPNRISE.com

Devin Lee is one of three players listed at 6-foot-3 on Fort Hill's roster, so he was not too difficult to spot when head coach Todd Appel was looking for a big play in the Sentinels' homecoming game against archrival Allegany.

[+] EnlargeDevin
Mike Loveday for ESPN RISE Devin Lee made his first reception of the season last week.
Lee entered the Nov. 8 game against Allegany nursing an ankle injury suffered on Oct. 24 against Northern Garrett. Lee played sparingly, but with three minutes left and Fort Hill down 22-20, Appel needed his go-to guy.

"When it came down to three minutes to go, I looked at him and said can you play? He said, 'Sure, I'm ready.' No questions asked," Appel said.

Lee made a 33-yard reception to put Fort Hill on Allegany's 35-yard line. He made another 13-yard reception on the drive to help set up quarterback Eric Howser for a one-yard touchdown run to win the game.

"When we needed the big play, Devin got the big play for us," Appel said. "He was the turning point in the homecoming game for us."

Lee made seven catches for 124 yards -- more than 17 yards per reception -- last season in Fort Hill's option offense. The 170-pound junior also played slot back, quarterback, free safety and cornerback.

Matched up against Dunbar's 6-2, 180-pound Sean Farr in the Class 1A title game, Lee helped hold the Louisville-bound receiver to only two catches in the game.

With the graduation of Howser, Appel expects Lee to step in and fill the quarterback position. The real challenge appears to come when Appel looks to find someone to fill the void Lee will leave.

"Devin knows he's the best quarterback we have going into the season," Appel said. "But he also knows he's the best receiver we have."

Appel will need to find receivers for Lee to be effective, but the head coach added he might use other players at quarterback so Lee can still play some receiver. Lee is also expected to get carries from the running back position to take advantage of his speed and agility.

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The junior holds no official offers yet, but Appel said Akron has recently started sending mail to Lee, who also maintains a 3.6 GPA.

Lee will attend the Nike Baltimore Combine on March 28 at M&T Bank Stadium.

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Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com