Marqise Lee is probably the best pound-for-pound football player in the nation right now, and if it wasn’t for the fact that wide receivers have an uphill battle to win the Heisman Trophy, he certainly could fit the bill as ‘college football’s most outstanding player’.
He leads the country in receptions and yards, and going up against UCLA’s 105th ranked pass defense, he has a realistic opportunity to break three Pac-12 single season records for catches, yards and touchdowns. But despite Lee licking his chops in his matchup against Sheldon Price, Randall Goforth and company, don’t expect Lee to be a special teams maestro tomorrow.
While Lee leads the Pac-12 in kick return yards and set a record for yards in a game two weeks ago against Oregon, the Bruins are kryptonite to Lee’s super return ability.
UCLA’s Jeff Locke leads the nation in the touchbacks, forcing the Bruins’ opponents to start at the 25-yard line an astounding 78 percent of the time. With that in mind, the chances of Lee getting opportunities to return kicks are lessened and the Bruins don’t even have to pooch kick like Arizona State did last week.
Oh, and what happens if Lee does get a chance to return a kick? He might not get far. UCLA has kicked off 69 times this season and only twice have they given up returns of longer than 30 yards. In comparison, Lee has three that have gone for 70-plus yards.