McKinley Lee III has competed in gymnastics, football and now soon at Fresno State

Edison High senior running back McKinley Lee III can leap over defenders – or do a somersault thanks to his early gymnastics days.

Now he’s joining the Fresno State football team as a preferred walk-on in the fall.

“When Fresno State came to the table, I didn’t second-guess it,” he said. “I’ve been a Bulldog at heart since I was a kid.”

Under former Fresno State standout and now Edison coach Atnaf Harris, Lee finished with 1,621 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 181 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Lee said he fondly remembers going to Bulldogs game as a child, tailgating and “playing football on the parking lot grass.

“Now being a part of it and being in the game is crazy.”

Lee did gymnastics in Clovis from age 5. “I hated it,” he said. “But seeing how it affected me now and being so flexible is crazy. ... I’m super glad I did it and it helped me in the long run.”

Lee is listed at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds and said he looks up to Fresno State career rushing record-holder Robbie Rouse (5-7, 185), who starred for the Bulldogs from 2009-12.

And Lee said he’s impressed by coach Jeff Tedford: “Changed the whole program around and he listens to what the Valley wants. I’m excited to play for him.”

Anthony Galaviz: 559-441-6042, agalaviz_TheBee

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.