On a day before Buchholz High School honors Bobcat greats Vernon Maxwell and Lamar Thomas, another soon to be alum is headed for greatness.
Quan Lee, the all-time leading wide receiver in Alachua County history, signed his letter of intent to play football for the University of Central Florida during the early signing period on Wednesday morning in front of family, players, coaches, and administrators.
“It’s exciting to get the opportunity to play college football and to live out my football dreams,” Lee said. “Football doesn’t last forever so I want to take advantage of every opportunity I get to play it. It’s exciting.”
This past season, Lee had 48 catches for 928 yards and 10 TDs. He also had 25 carries for 226 yards and three TDs.
“On the football field, and the practice field, he really set himself apart as being one of the most tenacious players I’ve ever seen,” said Buchholz coach Mark Whittemore. “He just took over a lot of contests with his ferocity and his desire to be the guy that came down with the ball, so you can’t say enough about his skill set and about his attributes as a football player. Not many like him.”
His offensive skills overshadow just how good of a defensive player he is.
“He could be a better defensive back than he is a receiver and that’s saying a lot,” Whittemore said. “He’s a multiple player. Most of the time he’s the best athlete on the field.”
As a junior, Lee caught 52 passes for over 1,000 yards and 13 scores in earning All-Area honors. He was the first receiver to go over 1,000 at BHS since the early 2000s.
“I think for me, Quan coming in two years ago, I probably wouldn’t be where I am without him,” said Buchholz junior quarterback Creed Whittemore. “To be able to throw to him and know where he’s going to be, and the playmaker he is, made it so much easier for me to play my game. I could run around back there knowing that Quan is somewhere down the field.”
Lee added four punt returns for touchdowns. He also blocked a field goal.
“It means so much to get this far,” said Lee’s mom, Perttina Davis. “He’s loved football since he was six years old. I’ve been with him, following him, pushing him, encouraging him to do it ever since and once he reached the high school level he embraced it and it’s like it took off and he said, ‘this is what I want to do.'”
Lee’s best game came against Eastside, his former school, when he scored three touchdowns in a 42-7 win against the Rams on Sept. 10.
“I just knew I had to show out,” Lee said. “That was probably the most fun I had in a game.”
He said the biggest change and transition of his life came when he transferred from Eastside to Buchholz a couple of years ago.
“Coming over here with Coach Whitt, he just made me view life in a different perspective,” Lee said. “It’s a whole new brotherhood. Everybody moved as one, not just individually. That stood out to me. He believed in my vision and I just trusted the process.”
His quarterback said the “tenacity he brings” is what sets him apart.
“He’s always going to be the one that wins,” Creed said. “He’s going to win all of those one-on-ones, maybe not because he’s better, but because of his mentality and the way he comes to practice every day and the way he works. He loves football, and he’s going to try and beat you in any way that he can.”
Lee said UCF coach Gus Malzahn and his staff’s vision is what sold him on the Knights, who are joining the Big 12 and becoming a Power 5 school.
“I just believe in him (Malzahn), and the whole staff believed in me, so I’m putting my trust in them to believe in me,” Lee said.