Position: Linebacker/Defensive End
Previous College: None
Status: On Scholarship
Elijah James Lee (b. Feb. 8, 1996) is an extremely promising three-star linebacker who is part of the famed Blue Springs Trio, along with fellow Kansas State signees Kaleb Prewett and Dalvin Warmack.
He chose K-State over rising interest from Iowa and Northern Illinois, along with Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, plus offers from Toledo and Wyoming.
Lee committed prior to the 2013 spring game and can play at multiple positions. Initially, he is slated to be a linebacker, and I am sure he would be excellent in that role because of his athleticism.
But in the long term, I think the hope of the coaches is that Lee can pack on 30 to 40 pounds, without sacrificing any speed, and play as a pass rush specialist at defensive end. He has freak potential at that spot, if you ask me.
The coaches are pretty excited about him, too — especially co-offensive coordinator Del Miller, who won't even coach him — according to this GoPowercat.com article:
"Both Coach Miller and Coach Donohoe said bringing my All-American abilities and leadership will do nothing but help the program."
Lee would be ideal as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, given his potential as both a linebacker and defensive end. Since we don't play that formation, though, we may have to settle for 4-3 outside linebacker:
"They want me at outside linebacker," Lee recalled. "They've talked about standing me up off the edge for 3rd and 4th down situations too."
"K-State coaches aren't worried about my weight," continues the 205-pounder, who continues to add weight after a strenuous basketball campaign. "They want me to just let it come naturally. My growth plates are still open and I think I could end up at 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, so I'll have a frame to handle weight easily."
As a result of our extremely limited depth at defensive end as of this writing (only five other scholarship players line up there right now), I am tentatively predicting Lee to be on the third team at the position. But a redshirt seems likely.
Lee played for the Blue Springs High School Wildcats under head coach Kelly Donohoe. He is a two-time recipient of the Buck Buchanan Memorial Award, given to the best lineman or linebacker in the top two high school classes in Kansas or Missouri high school football in the Kansas City area, and only the second two-time winner of the award.
He was selected as the Missouri Football Coaches Association (MFCA) Class 6 Defensive Player of the Year, while he was a unanimous pick for the MFCA All-State squad in 2013. Lee also was named first team all-state by the Missouri media in 2013 and was selected to theFamily Insurance All-USA Missouri Team.
Named to the MaxPreps Junior All-American team in 2012, Lee also was a first-team all-state honoree by both the coaches and media as a junior, as well as a two-time Kansas City Star All-Metro honoree.
Lee was rated the 39th-best outside linebacker nationally by Scout.com and the 41st by Rivals.com. You can watch his highlights here.
He recorded 85 tackles, including 36 for loss and 12 sacks as a senior after collecting 71 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, and 18.5 sacks in 2012. He also participated in basketball, earning all-conference and all-district honors.
One thing I like about Lee is that he has his head on straight. This is a kid who gets it. Just see what he told GoPowercat.com about his academic aspirations:
"After doing research, the engineering program sold me. That's what I want to pursue as a dream outside of football." ...
"I'm excited on my decision and sold on this choice," finished the rising star. "Kansas State showed me the most love and I wanted to return the favor."