In recent years USC has been a hot bed of talented wide receivers. All you have to do is look at their recent draft record to see a slew of talent, from Mike Williams to Dwayne Jarrett, Damian Williams to Robert Woods and now, Marqise Lee. BC fans should remember from personal experience how good their receivers can be after the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl where Damian Williams caught 12 passes for 189 yards.
Even thrown in this impressive group, Marqise Lee might be the best receiver in recent Trojan history. He is bound to be an early first round pick in the NFL Draft. But his life was not always highlight reels and touchdown catches. Lee was born to two deaf parents, who Lee had to communicate with via sign language. Home life was a complete mess and he moved from his grandmothers to foster homes. His life got even worse when not one, but both of his brothers were involved in gangs, one ending up dead, the other in jail.
But somehow Lee rose above all of this and earned a scholarship with USC. In his freshman year he gained 1,143 yards in just 12 games, and topped that last year when led the nation in receiving yards with 1680 yards. He ended up winning the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year Award, and Biletnikoff Award.
Last week we covered another great wide receiver in Wake Forest senior Michael Campanaro. Lee presents a whole different problem for Boston College. Campanaro is a dynamic slot receiver, who's versatility and speed cause a whole slew of matchup problems that work to his advantage. Lee, on the other hand, is the prototypical stretch the field receiver. Just look at the average yards per catch between the two receivers ... Campanaro 9.8, Lee almost 15. He hits a second level like none other, and he has some of the best hands in the nation. The last thing BC wants to see is Max Wittek having plenty of time in the pocket and hucking the ball down field.
Lee is going to be a nightmare for any team, but Boston College specifically will need to figure out a way to control him. Two changes in 2013 should help to address that. Thankfully Don Brown's defense is no longer the cushion system that Spaz used. The last thing you want to do is give a track star like Lee an 8 yard head start. Brown is going to give his corners more of the ability to press at the line of scrimmage and play more man to man. BC is definitely going to need safety help to help in these situations but a good physical safety like Sean Sylvia or Justin Simmons could do the trick.
That leads to the second big change for BC, the return of Al Louis Jean. As we all saw last year BC corners struggled. Much of that as mentioned above had to do with McGovern's system, but also BC was throwing out a hodgepodge of corners to cover dynamic receivers like Nuke Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. This year BC has their best cover corner back on the field. Louis-Jean is going to be asked a lot, but Marqise Lee could be his biggest assignment this year.