RB Mauriece Lee is finishing strong

It was a big weekend for Arizona running backs. The Wildcats' Ka'Deem Carey set a Pac-12 record with 366 rushing yards and five touchdowns on Saturday in a victory over Colorado. The previous night, Wildcats verbal commitment Mauriece Lee (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza) put on a show of his own as he rushed for 286 yards and four touchdowns in a second-round playoff victory.

It continues a strong run from Lee to finish the season. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the past three games and has scored 11 touchdowns in that span. Lee said he didn't have a chance to see Carey's performance on Saturday, but made sure to see as many highlights as possible.

While Lee wasn't at Arizona's game, he said his relationship with the Wildcats' coaches has strengthened since his verbal commitment in April. And Carey's performance this season has Lee looking forward to the impact he could make for the Wildcats.

"My high school team runs the same offense as them," Lee said. "I just want to play my freshman year. After my high school season, I plan on working out a lot so I can get up there and build a better relationship with the coaches and players. As far as the offense goes, I want to learn some other stuff so that I can work in that spread."

But the Padres' season still has at least one more game thanks in part to Lee's performance last week. This Friday, they'll take on Tucson (Ariz.) Ironwood Ridge, which dealt Marcos De Niza its only loss this season.

"Everybody on the team knows we can win a state championship, but we have to put our mind to it," Lee said. "Even though we focus during the season, the coaches tell us to focus even more now. There's no more joking around. My mentality for the playoffs is getting my team to state. I'm trying to do whatever I can to get them there."

As far as recruiting goes, Lee said he won't shut himself off to other schools that would like to recruit him. He would like to hear from Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State, among other schools, but added that it is more about making sure he explores every possible option rather than necessarily looking to go somewhere other than Arizona.