Lee returns home from Biletnikoff win

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
4:42
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Marqise Lee got back to the USC campus from a midweek trip to Disney World just as the final few Trojans were walking off the practice field Friday morning.

The first person he saw was coach Lane Kiffin, who immediately cracked a joke that Lee was too big a star to attend practice now. Lee, wearing sweatpants and a white V-neck -- in stark contrast to the suit he sported on ESPN some 18 hours earlier -- gave Kiffin a military-style salute and laughed it off.

Lee received the Biletnikoff Award, honoring the nation's top receiver, on Thursday night in Orlando, Fla. He admitted he got nervous during the trophy presentation -- an unusual state for him.

"My heart was beating so fast," he said. "Once they said the Biletnikoff was next, I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' My heart was racing.

"Once I won, all my teammates came to mind, from Robert (Woods) to (Matt) Barkley to the linemen especially."

Lee, 21, won the trophy after a 112-catch, 1,680-yard, 14-touchdown sophomore season. All that, after he wasn't even on the initial watch list for the award released over the summer.

Lee said he used that as motivation.

"I think it shows what a dominant season he had, to go from not being on that list to winning it," Kiffin said earlier Friday. "You better really win that award to come from that far behind."

Kiffin said he suspected Lee ran away with the voting over Terrance Williams of Baylor and Stedman Bailey of West Virginia.

USC receivers coach Tee Martin had high hopes as he watched the award ceremony on TV Thursday night, but he stopped short of saying he expected a victory.

"I haven't seen anything like Marqise Lee and the season he had this year," Martin said Friday. "I had never been around a receiver on the collegiate level as dominant as that in any single season."

Doubting his choice on what to wear for the ceremony, Lee said he consulted Martin on his grey-suit, purple-shirt combination and got his coach's approval.

Lee will get the 56-pound trophy -- "so heavy," he said -- shipped to him in February, but he doesn't plan on bringing it home. He said he'll leave it at USC for the foreseeable future.

He said he didn't watch the Heisman finalist announcement Monday, although he had hopes of being named. And he still has hopes for next season.

Only three finalists were invited to New York for that presentation. Lee likely finished between fourth and sixth.

"I've still got time," Lee said Friday.

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