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Kansas State Defensive Player to Watch: Elijah Lee

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The sophomore outside linebacker is a sneaky Cat who's sure to have a few tricks ready for the Frogs on Saturday.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

At 6'3" and weighing in at 218 pounds, Elijah Lee is the leading defensive player for the Kansas State Wildcats.  An outside linebacker from Blue Springs, MO, Lee won multiple awards in high school and ranked the 39th best outside linebacker nationally by Scout.com in 2013.  As a true freshman in 2014, Lee played in all 13 games.  He racked up 19 tackles, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass break-up.  He received Big 12 Honorable Mention for Defensive Freshman of the Year last year. Lee played defensive end in high school but was moved to linebacker this season.  Bill Snyder says, "He runs well and that's a great asset for him."  Lee says he's still nervous about playing such a different role on the field, but he trusts his coaches and his ability.  Though, he admits that natural talent can only get you so far before you have to know what you're doing.

The most dangerous thing about Lee is that he knows how to rush and he has the speed to do it from the linebacker position.  What he lacks in size for a linebacker, he makes up for in speed.  This season, Lee has had 27 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss.  He has 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Lee had a standout game against Louisiana Tech, where he had 12 tackles and those 2 sacks, a career high for him.  In last week's game against Oklahoma State, he broke up a pass on a 2-point conversion attempt in the third quarter, which allowed Kansas State to maintain a 2-point lead and force OSU's need for a field goal. (Kansas City Star)

The Frogs' biggest challenge with Lee will simply be keeping an eye on him.  He poses a threat to Boykin, as well as our runners and receivers.  Our offensive line will need to put a strong barrier around Boykin to protect him from all sides, while watching for Lee's sneak-attack.  And our receivers and runners should expect to be challenged, regardless of where they are on the field.  Snyder has noted that Lee has adapted to covering any amount of turf he's assigned to protect.  And if Lee gets a chance at an interception, he has the ability to turn it into a Pick 6.  As a sophomore, it's clear Elijah Lee is a name we'll be hearing often over the next couple of years, but I have every confidence our Frogs will keep this Wildcat on a short leash come Saturday in Kansas.