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Weatherford welcomes challenge from lone prep peer

Florida's top two high school quarterbacks are both headed to Florida State.

And that's fine with Drew Weatherford.

The Land O'Lakes quarterback, Pasco County's all-time leading passer and the Class 4A player of the year, commited to Florida State in July. Monday, Weatherford said he welcomed the decision of Daytona Beach Seabreeze quarterback Xavier Lee, the state's all-time passer and 3A player of the year, to do the same.

Weatherford has wanted to play for FSU since he was a child, and he said Lee's decision won't change his. Both will be Seminoles.

"It's going to be awesome," Weatherford said. "I think it will help us. We can do a lot of awesome things for Florida State. I'm recruiting everybody; I've talked to a lot of kids to come to Florida State."

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Lee set state high school records for completions (549), yards (9,083) and touchdown passes (98) this season and also is a dangerous runner. Auburn, Ohio State and Texas were on Lee's short list, but the nationally renowned recruit commited to FSU on Sunday and canceled a scheduled visit to Syracuse this weekend.

The 6-3, 210-pound Weatherford said he expected Lee's decision, as did the Seminoles' coaches. Weatherford, who took his official visit to Tallahassee last weekend, welcomed the future competition to start at quarterback for FSU.

"Everyone there pretty much knew he was coming and I didn't have a problem with it and I still don't," Weatherford said. "I think it will help our recruiting a lot, to get the other kids to commit. I don't see anything but good things coming out of it.

"It'll make me work harder and it'll make him work harder."

Weatherford hasn't had to compete for a starting job since his freshman season. He said practicing with and competing against Lee can only make him a better quarterback.

"I really haven't had the chance to have competition in high school," Weatherford said. "Even though I work as it is, you work harder when you have someone to beat out. We'll see how it works out. I'm sure we'll have a good relationship."

The two met their sophomore year and have seen each other at camps and in Tallahassee over the years. The two have also been linked because of their mutual interest in FSU and because both wanted to break the state's passing records.

Only Lee did so. But Weatherford has enjoyed the better playoff record the past two seasons, going 4-2 and reaching back-to-back region finals.

"I guess since we're two of the top quarterbacks in Florida there's always been a competition between us (in the media)," Weatherford said. "But I've never felt it and I'm sure he never has either. Everybody talks about it, but he has me statwise and publicitywise and he's bigger and faster than I am."

But Weatherford isn't conceding anything. Chris Rix is the senior returning starter at quarterback, leaving Weatherford to battle fellow freshman Lee and sophomore Wyatt Sexton for the future job.

"I think it will just prepare me," Weatherford said. "I'll work hard and I'll study hard and I'll be ready to go. I'm sure he has that in mind, too.

"We'll just have to battle it out and see."