Marqise Lee (left) passes the baton to George Farmer at the Arcadia Invitational. Both Serra athletes were in the running for the Athlete of the Year, but Lee was given the award over Farmer and others. Photo by Jason Lewis
As a wide receiver Lee was unstoppable, catching 57 passes for 1,407 yards and 24 touchdowns. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
When it comes to high school sports, California’s pool of talent dwarfs most other states, with only Texas and Florida as the state’s rivals.
Being named the Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year means that an individual out performed some of the best athletes in the nation. For the 2010-11, that honor went to Gardena Serra’s Marqise Lee, just one year after Serra’s Robert Woods won the award.
Lee, like Woods, will play football at USC this fall.
At times Lee had to fight for the spot light with Woods and teammate George Farmer (Farmer will also play at USC this fall.) The three players helped Serra win the Division III State Bowl championship a year ago, and they nearly won the state title in track and field. Lee and Farmer led their basketball team to a state championship. This past season Lee and Farmer led the football team to an undefeated regular season, and they made it all the way to the CIF State Bowl game, losing to Folsom.
As a junior, Lee mostly played defensive back on the football team, as Woods and Farmer made up one of the top wide receiver dues in the nation. But this past football season Lee was given his chance to play wide receiver with Woods leaving for USC, and Lee showed that he could also dominate on that side of the ball.
At 6-foot-1, 190-pound, Lee was too big, strong, and fast for most defensive backs that lined up against him, as he produced 57 receptions for 1,409 yards with 24 touchdowns. He beat defenders deep, was able to out jump them with ease, and with his size and strength, it was hard to tackle him in the open field.
On the defensive side of the ball Lee was rarely challenged because of the respect that opposing quarterbacks had for his skills. He finished the season with three interceptions and 45 tackles. He was more highly regarded as a defensive player, but it appears that he will play offense at USC.
On the basketball team, Lee was named Serra’s MVP this past season, averaging 12 points per game. But the team had to forfeit multiple games due to the use of an ineligible player.
In track and field, Lee took second place in the long jump at the CIF State Championship meet with a mark of 23-11. His best jump of the season was 24-8, which was the third best in the nation. He also competed in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, finishing with times of 10.7 and 22.3.
Serra is only the second school to produce back-to-back Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Year players. The only other school to achieve that feat was Mission Viejo in 1977 and 1978, when swimmers Brian Goodell and Jesse Vassallo won the award.
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