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Zae Baines (1) of North Cross leaps to evade Nansemond-Suffolk defenders in a win on Saturday.

The Philadelphia Eagles are not the only football team that calls Lincoln Financial Field home.

The Temple Owls also play home games in the 69,176-seat stadium, and that is where North Cross senior wide receiver Zae Baines plans to spend his college career.

Baines said Sunday he has committed to Temple, choosing the Philadelphia school over a host of scholarship offers from FBS schools including Virginia, Duke, Purdue and Cincinnati.

Baines visited Temple's campus first in June and again in July and made a commitment to first-year head coach Rod Carey on Sunday morning.

"I really, really liked the coaching staff," Baines said. "They were so cool. I enjoyed my time there. The vibe there is different. They made me feel comfortable. That's the place I want to be."

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Baines has been a receiver and defensive back for North Cross since his freshman season. He said Temple recruited him to play offense, where he caught 37 passes for 706 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018 as the Raiders reached the VISAA Division II championship game.

North Cross head coach Stephen Alexander is pleased with Baines' commitment.

"I think in a lot of ways it's a good fit for him," Alexander said. "I think he's going to be a difference-maker. That's the way they feel about it. They were very active in recruiting him."

North Cross assistant coach Shannon Taylor, who is Baines' legal guardian, said Temple's newly hired coaching staff became aware of the Raiders' athlete early in the spring.

"They saw his Hudl film, and then they saw his basketball film right after that and said, 'Oh my goodness,' " Taylor said. "They drew a circle with a six-hour radius [from Philadelphia] and said that's the area they wanted to recruit."

Baines said Temple wide receivers coach Thad Ward came to Roanoke last spring to evaluate his athleticism.

"They came to watch me work out and talk to me in school," Baines said. "Ever since that day, we've been keeping in contact."

Temple finished 8-5 in 2018 with a 56-27 loss to Duke in the Independence Bowl. The Owls also had 2018 regular-season victories over Maryland and Cincinnati.

Taylor said he had an inkling Baines might choose Temple over the other suitors.

"He really liked Temple on his first visit," Taylor said. "The players were very welcoming ... the diversity of the city ... the coaches were very warm. I thought there was a pretty good chance."

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