New Albany’s Lee has big North-South game

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Ohio state recruit Darron Lee was named South Defensive MVP at the North-South Game. (Gary Housteau)

With the final outcome of the Ohio North-South All Star Classic still
in the balance and the South driving and trailing by six points,
33-27, future Ohio State Buckeye Darron Lee from New Albany had a chance
to make another play of the game with just over a minute left in the
contest. He didn’t…


With the final outcome of the Ohio North-South All Star Classic still
in the balance and the South on the drive trailing by six points,
33-27, future Ohio State Buckeye Darron Lee from New Albany had a chance
to make another play of the game with just over a minute left in the
contest.

Unfortunately
for Lee and the South team, he wasn’t able to come up with the
wide-open catch which would have allowed him to pretty much walk into
the end zone with the game-tying score as the South suffered a six-point
loss to the North at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.

“I took my eye off of it, didn’t look it in,” admitted Lee, a New
Albany product and one of three Ohio State signees in the annual Ohio
all-star game. “That’s just fundamentals but at least it will give me
something to work on and I’m going to come out (next time) a little
harder. Got to make plays. But at the end of the day it was a lot of fun
playing with these guys. I came out to show my talents and I felt I did
but I fell a little short in the end.”

Lee, projected as an outside linebacker or safety at OSU,
certainly made his fair share of big plays in the game prior to that
costly miscue at the end. A spectacular 77-yard run from the Wildcat
formation was just one of his highlights during the game.

“They wanted to get the ball in my hands. Coach Meyer I can play
offense. Coach Meyer I can play offense. Coach Meyer I can play
offense,” said Lee in an obvious campaign statement to his future head
coach. “That’s all I can say.”

Disappointment aside, Lee enjoyed the entire all-star experience.

“It was a lot of fun. I got to play with a great group of guys on
both teams, we all bonded,” Lee said. “We’re all here for the same
purpose and that was to have fun, show our talents and go up against
some really good competition. I got to hook up with (fellow OSU signees)
Gareon (Conley) and Chris (Worley) and we had a great time.”

And in the end Lee walked away with the hardware for the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award for the South squad.

“It was great. Hard work pays off,” Lee said. “But still … Coach Meyer I can play offense.”

However
Lee’s high school head coach and South assistant, Mark Mueller, stayed
neutral when addressing which side of the ball that Lee is likely to
perform on at the collegiate level.

“They make a lot of money and they can make that decision,” said
Mueller alluding to the Ohio State coaching staff. “I did my best with
him.”

Mueller obviously believes the staff can’t go wrong in whatever way they use his former standout.

“I see him as a dynamic offensive player with the ball but he can
do the same thing defensively,” Mueller said. “It’s a cop out, I know,
but he can do either very well.”

It’s just more obvious when Lee’s making plays on offense,
whether he’s lined up as wide out or taking a direct snap out of the
Wildcat formation.

“He’s definitely a game breaker,” Mueller said. “Now at the next
level he might not be as much of a game breaker at first but he’ll end
up being that way.”

In addition to his exploits on offense during the all-star
classic, Lee had a rather above average interception from his safety
position that certainly factored into him winning his postgame award.

“He can come up and hit and he can cover too,” Mueller said. “He can do it all.”

So Lee’s overall all-star performance didn’t really surprise his former head coach.

“It’s weird because when you coach a player with that kind of
talent you really don’t know how he’s going to match up,” Mueller said.
“You know in each game you see him in he’s pretty dag gone good but then
when you put him on the field with all of the best talent in the state
of Ohio he shows that he’s real good.

“It was neat watching him the first few practices because I was
kind of wondering. I know he’s good but then when he gets out here and
displays what he can do, yeah he’s really good.”

And at 6-2 and 210 pounds, Lee will now take all of his
prodigious talent to the track this spring before he enrolls at OSU in
the summer.

“Now I’m going to go back to running track and lifting,” Lee said, “preparing to report June 9 to get down to business.”

Lee will run the 200, 400 and a couple relays.

“Mainly look out for the 200 and 400, making it to state is
obviously the goal and definitely getting faster,” he said. “My goal is
to get to state and then the day after state report. And then it’s time
to get to work.”

He’s set some ambitious yet practical goals for himself once he officially becomes a Buckeye.

“My objectives going in down there is to make a name for myself,
earn respect around the team and fight for playing time,” Lee said. “I’m
prepared to do whatever to get on the field, absolutely both, of course
defense. But I’m just prepared to go down there and work and to get
some playing time early.”

Mueller certainly has his own expectations for Lee that pretty much mirror those of his two-way standout.

“(I expect him) to get on the field as a freshman and play,” he said. “And be a playmaker.”

And he won’t disappoint off the field either, according to Mueller.

“He’s a character,” the coach said. “He’s funny, he’s personable,
he’s fun to be around and he’s very humble. And he has great integrity.
That’s one thing that I love about him and that’s what Ohio State’s
going to love about him. They won’t have to worry about him.”

Also Notable

* For the game, Lee had two carries for 72 yards, three catches
for 48 yards and one tackle and one interception on defense for the
South.

* OSU signee Jalin Marshall from Middletown was ticketed to play in the game for the South but did not play.

* Conley and Worley won MVP honors for the North. Conley,
ticketed as a cornerback at OSU, had seven catches for 109 yards and
three touchdowns. He had touchdown catches of 36, 28 and 11 yards.
Worley had six tackles and 1-1/2 tackles-for-loss for the North.

* Stay tuned … we will have more coverage from the North-South Classic.

* Click here for our exclusive video highlights and interview with Lee from national signing day.

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