Zack Lee took the money and ran. And who can blame him. Lee is in extremely rare company when it comes to that exclusive club of American high school graduates who are offered multimillion dollar paying jobs shortly after receiving their diplomas, $5.25 million in Zack’s case.
The Los Angeles Dodgers decide to add a suspenseful air to the proceedings by waiting until the last evening allowed by MLB to close the deal. But close it they did as they landed their first-round pitcher.
The Dodgers’ gain is LSU Baseball and Football’s loss, as Zack was projected to provide immediate help to Paul Mainieri’s team this coming spring and possibly some meaningful contributions to Les Miles’ team this fall.
Zack was described by those around him as being extremely talented, as a pitcher and a quarterback, while possessing uncanny poise and confidence for an incoming freshman.
Unfortunately for LSU and its faithful all that is left is a sense of abandonment and wondering what could have been for the next few years.
So, in reality, where does that leave LSU after Lee’s departure?
I believe most will agree that the football program will be impacted more than the baseball program. Losing one pitcher in a rotation will produce less of a void than losing a starting quarterback, especially in two years when Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee part ways with LSU.
This was going to be the perfect scenario. A very talented four-star QB, with skills galore, coming in under the tutelage of Jefferson and J. Lee for two years who would then be primed to take the reins in 2012, if not sooner. Now, it is on to Plan B.
But what exactly is Plan B?
The only quarterbacks presently listed on LSU’s roster that are not juniors or seniors are Barrett Bailey and Alex Walton, with Chris Garrett moving on to greener pastures.
With timing being everything maybe Garrett should have waited for Lee’s decision because I get the feeling that Bailey and Walton don’t figure prominently in LSU’s plans.
Given the present dearth of legitimate SEC-caliber QB’s eligible for the 2012 season, Coach Miles and his staff need to orchestrate a full frontal assault on the 2011 class of high school seniors throughout Louisiana and beyond, looking for (and attracting) at least a couple of highly skilled signal callers.
Perhaps Coach Miles made a calculated error earlier this year in not landing a second quarterback to complement (or fill in for) Zack Lee, especially since he had high MLB draft pick written all over him.
Regardless of the past, he best make QB a high priority as this present recruiting season begins to mature.
LSU currently has one QB commitment for the 2011 class; Stephen Rivers, a three-star pro-style signal caller out of Alabama that has demonstrated some impressive flashes of talent. A four or five-star stud added to this class would go a long way in helping to ease the hole left by Lee.
Ideally, the Tigers would land a franchise-type field general, who possess no MLB aspirations, that they could provide some valuable 2011 playing time for (if he is that good) or redshirt him for the 2012 season.
And if the Bayou Bengals karma is really working, maybe the football gods will smile down upon the LSU faithful by revisiting the 1986 season when a young freshman quarterback by the name of Tommy Hodson shocked a highly ranked Texas A&M team and delighted Tiger Stadium with an outstanding performance in a 35 - 17 win.
If Coach Miles could find a quarterback to come in as a true or redshirt freshman and work the kind of magic that Hodson did during that memorable 86' season, Zack Lee could easily become a distant memory.