After he signed his national letter of intent Wednesday, Logan Lee took photos with friends and family, the excitement visible on his face.
As one of the first commits for Iowa’s 2019 class, originally announcing his decision on June 24, 2017, the anticipation has been building up for the Orion tight end.
“I’m pretty excited right now,” Lee said. “It’s a huge opportunity for me to have this in my life, and I’m very blessed.”
Since he missed the final five weeks of Orion’s football season with a lacerated spleen, Lee was more than ready to start down on his future path.
“I’ve been looking forward to it for a while,” he said. “I wanted to finish my high school career, but it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to. I’m just ready for the next step.”
Though he only played in seven games this season, Lee — who is rated as a three-star recruit and the 20th-best tight end in the nation by 247Sports — was a dominant force on both sides of the ball, finishing with 26 catches for 442 yards and 10 touchdowns as well as 44 tackles and 14 sacks on defense.
“He is a guy who was on our radar early, a big aggressive guy who can help us,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s capable in a couple of spots. He’s in an area where we could lose maybe a couple of guys in the next 14 months if not sooner. He can really help us.”
Ferentz liked that Lee attended camp early, giving coaches a chance to see how he took to coaching and learn about his demeanor and work ethic. He said a “neat part” was how Orion head coach Chip Filler joined Lee’s parents in attending a practice or two as he was being recruited. He liked that involvement, and Filler was able to use things he learned from those trips to help the Chargers reach the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
There’s been a lot of talk whether Lee would stay at tight end or move to defensive end for the Hawkeyes, and though Ferentz talked about starting Lee out as a tight end, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior acknowledged the possibility of a position change down the road.
“Right now, they’re still recruiting me as a tight end, but I just got word with how much weight I’ve been putting on and my frame right now, they’re considering putting me at defensive end,” he said. “That all depends on how I develop in the next four months. Right now, I don’t know all that much, just going to play it by ear, and I’m looking forward to it.
“Ideally I’d like to play tight end, but it really makes no difference.”
After suffering the injury back in October, Lee said he hopes to be cleared for competition on Friday and he’ll start preparing to wrestle heavyweight for the Chargers after winning a state title at 220 pounds as a sophomore.
He will miss Orion’s Bob Mitton Invite but only because he was selected to play in the 2019 Polynesian Bowl, a high school all-star game scheduled for Jan. 19 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
After having his Orion career end prematurely, Lee is ready to get back on the field.
“I’m really looking at this as a chance to finish my high school career, and I’m looking to do a pretty good job at this thing,” he said. “I really want to finish high school on my own note and not let an injury finish it for me.”
Taets signs with Illinois State: Along with Lee, Orion senior Danielle Taets signed to continue her track career at Illinois State.
Taets won two Class 1A state titles last year, winning gold in the triple jump and in the 100-meter high hurdles and finishing third in the 300-meter low hurdles, breaking the school record in all three events.
Taets committed to the Redbirds in November, and to make it official a month later was special.
“It’s definitely an incredible feeling,” Taets said. “That’s the first place I ever visited and it really felt like home. I loved the team and I loved the coaches, and everything about it just kind of made it a done deal.”