When Marqise Lee was recruited out of Serra High School, many thought he could become the most talented corner that USC has had in a long, long time. Just like Robert Woods, and even Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas, defense was a strong possibility at the college level with the Trojans, though Lee proved in camp that he deserved a shot at wide receiver.
As a receiver, Lee has been incredible for the Trojans, as the sophomore already has an NCAA-best 52 receptions on the season, and is on pace to shatter the Pac-12 record that Robert Woods set a year ago. But with the troubles that the Trojans have had at cornerback, would it make sense for Lane Kiffin to share Lee with his father and play him in the secondary?
Marqise Lee thinks so.
According to Lane Kiffin via Pedro Moura, Lee told him on the team flight from Salt Lake City that he wanted to play defense, while not missing any time on offense. Even with the immense value that Lee offers on offense, it has to be tempting for Kiffin, though he’s not exactly seeming eager. Is it crazy to think about double-downing on Lee, though? Not exactly.
When you consider that in high school, all top prospects are two-way players, it’s not as if Lee would be out of position or fatigued if he played a little corner. Using him in a high pressure situation, say in the red zone, wouldn’t hurt the Trojans, especially when you take into account how much of a liability the second corner spot has been since the academic departure of Isiah Wiley.
Last night, Torin Harris got burned multiple times including on a razzle-dazzle touchdown that was nullified due to a penalty. Plus, freshman Kevon Seymour was beat deep over the middle on Utah’s third touchdown, which made it 21-10 Utes in the second quarter.
There’s surely a need there, and kudos for Lee to being enormous team player by wanting to help the Trojans in anyway he can. This isn’t exactly the way that Petey Jones would up corner for the T.C. Williams Titans, but it’s an opportunity that should be strongly considered.
Also, there’s a Heisman candidacy that can be built up for Lee, and if he’s to get time at cornerback and have success, it very well could push him just behind Geno Smith and into the conversation.
With extra time to get ready for the Washington Huskies up in Seattle next Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see how far Kiffin explores the situation.
An interesting subplot however, is that Kiffin’s angst against the media includes reporting scheme in practice as it ‘creates a competitive disadvantage’. If Lee does get time at corner, didn’t Lane Kiffin just blow his own cover by mentioning it to the media?
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What do you think? Should Marqise Lee play a little corner this season? Leave your comments below.