Lexington’s Avery will play football and basketball in Pac-10 for Stanford

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Lexington’s Courtney Avery is headed to Stanford for two sports. (Photos by Walt Butler and Daniel Melograna)

Throughout the recruiting process, Courtney Avery was tight-lipped about whether he would play football or basketball in college. Lexington’s two-sport All-Ohioan will do both. Avery verbally committed to Stanford where he plans to accept a football scholarship and try out for the basketball team.


LEXINGTON – Throughout the recruiting process, Courtney Avery was tight-lipped about whether he would play football or basketball in college.

Lexington’s two-sport All-Ohioan will do both.

Avery verbally committed to Stanford of the Pac-10 Conference after a weekend visit to the Palo Alto, Calif., campus. Avery can’t sign a letter of intent until February.

He plans to accept a football scholarship as a defensive back, but was given the green light from Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh and basketball coach Johnny Dawkins to try out for the basketball team.

“I talked to coach Harbaugh and he recommended I try out for basketball,” Avery said. “Then I talked to the basketball coach and he said he had seen me play AAU ball and he knew exactly who I was.

“I’ve been playing both sports my entire life, but I know in college it’s going to be a whole new ballgame.”

Avery had football offers from several Mid-American Conference schools, including Toledo, Central Michigan, Ball State and Akron. He was a regular visitor to the Ohio State sidelines last fall.

“When I got to Stanford, I fell in love with it right away,” Avery said. “It’s a beautiful area and the vibe was great.

“Stanford is where I want to be. My commitment is firm.”

A 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior quarterback and cornerback, Avery piloted the Minutemen to an Ohio Cardinal Conference title last fall. Lex (11-1) advanced to the second round of the Division II playoffs before falling to eventual state champ Sylvania Southview in the Region 6 semifinals.

A starter at quarterback since his freshman year, Avery completed 73 percent of his passes during the regular season (122-for-166) for 2,095 yards, 21 touchdowns and one interception and was the Ohio Cardinal Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He made 19 tackles and recovered a fumble from his cornerback spot and was a first team All-Ohioan.

“I got to meet all the coaches at Stanford and they want me to play cornerback,” said Avery, who boasts a 35-inch vertical leap and runs a 4.51 40-yard dash. “Once I get there, though, they said they would try us at different positions. They have a cornerback who is about my size and they have a package where he lines up at quarterback. I’d like to have that package installed for me, too.”

Avery followed up his junior football season with a breakout season on the basketball court. He averaged 18.9 points a game and was selected the OCC’s Player of the Year.

His AAU team, Columbus-based All-Ohio Red, is a two-time defending national champion and already has won two national-level tournaments in Wisconsin and Virginia this spring. All-Ohio Red’s roster includes Ohio State recruits Jared Sullinger of Division I state champ Columbus Northland and Jordan Sibert of Division I runner-up Cincinnati Princeton.

Avery also is running track for Lex – when time permits.

“It’s going to be a busy spring,” he said. “I haven’t run track since junior high, but I wanted to stay in shape and get faster.

“I need to improve in every facet of football before I get to Stanford. Playing in the Pac-10 against teams like USC and UCLA, the competition is going to be great.”

Lex football coach B.J. Payne said Avery will fit in just fine.

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