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Tanner Lee wins Tulane QB job over Nick Montana

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Bill Haber/Associated Press
QB Nick Montana started 11 games at Tulane last season but will enter 2014 at No. 3 on the depth chart.

Tulane has named redshirt freshman Tanner Lee its starting quarterback, and senior Nick Montana, Joe's youngest son, who started 11 games last season, now is the third-stringer.

Lee will be the first freshman in school history to start a season opener; the Green Wave open Aug. 28 at Tulsa.

Montana helped lead Tulane to a 7-6 record and its first bowl since 2002 last season.

Still, the decision by coach Curtis Johnson -- which came at the end of the first week of camp -- isn't a surprise. Lee (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) has a strong arm, had a good spring and coaches were high on him last season, when he redshirted. He seems to have a higher ceiling than the other quarterbacks in the mix.

While Montana (6-3, 207) started the bulk of the games last season, he wasn't that effective, throwing for 1,717 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing just 53.4 percent of his passes. Sophomore Devin Powell (6-3, 228), who started twice last season, will be the backup.

"Tanner Lee is our starting quarterback," Johnson said in a release from the school. "He'll start this year and I think he'll have a great season and a great career. Devin Powell played well and so did Nick, but I think Tanner is our guy. He's got a strong arm, command of our offense, great leadership skills and doesn't make many mistakes. ...

"It's still a competition. It'll be an on-going competition, but that's how our depth chart is set."

Montana began his career at Washington. He started one game with the Huskies as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and played in six games that season. But he wasn't going to beat out Keith Price for the starting job, so he transferred to Mount San Antonio College in 2012, then signed with Tulane after that junior college season.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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