NFL Draft 2014: Marqise Lee Draft Academy Breakdown

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

USC's all-time leading pass catcher awaits his NFL destination.

From rags to riches is an overused cliche, but for Marqise Lee it perfectly describes his journey to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Lee is one of five 2014 first-round NFL Draft prospects featured on ESPN's Draft Academy, a four-week series that provides insight into the lives of these athletes.

"Draft Academy follows some of the most talented, talked-about prospects as they train in pursuit of a top spot in the 2014 NFL Draft," said Matthew Volk, ESPN director, programming and acquisitions. "The show will give fans an intimate look at these players as they pursue their goals of making it to the NFL."

Through this mini-documentary, fans learn Lee was destined for greatness long before he ever picked up a football. At a young age Lee was taken away from his mother and placed in the foster care system where he lived in motels and with different families until high school. He was then adopted by the family of one of his friends and teammate.

While in the foster care system, Lee began following behind his brothers who were in a local gang. One of his brothers was the victim of a gang-related shooting while his other brother was jailed. Despite such a tumultuous upbringing, Lee can rarely be found without a bright smile and a positive perspective on the most bleak situations.

Oh, not to mention he is fluent in sign language. Both of Lee's biological parents are deaf, so he and his siblings picked up the language in order to communicate with them.

USC fans and coaches alike were taken by storm when Lee stepped foot on Howard Jones field during fall camp his freshman year. The season prior, fellow Junipero Serra graduate Robert Woods had already outlined a blueprint for the star, breaking several school and conference records.

Lee lived up to the hype opposite Woods with his undeniable athleticism and high football IQ over the past three seasons.

There were high expectations with the success and accolades that Lee accumulated after his freshman season. Yet again, Lee did not disappoint earning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and becoming USC's leading receiver for the second year in a row.

After suffering a severe knee injury in his junior season, Lee just was not the same. His draft stock reflected it.

"I was looking at those draft boards every week watching my stock drop lower and lower," Lee said during an interview after the 2013 season. "It was disappointing, so I had to stop looking for a while."

Following Lee's troubled junior season where he was sidelined by the knee injury, he made the decision to forego his senior season and declare for the draft. For many NFL teams, the jury was still out on whether Lee would return to the rare form he once displayed. Then the NFL Combine rolled around.

"I thought the combine went great," Lee said. "I know a lot of people thought I should have ran again, but I think my tape is strong enough and speaks for itself."

The National Football League has also announced that the prolific Trojan will be one of the prospects attending the 2014 NFL Draft live from Radio City Music Hall.

NFL DRAFT PROJECTIONS

Sports Illustrated- No. 26 Cleveland Browns

CBSSports.com- No. 23 Kansas City Chiefs

ESPN.com Mel Kiper- No. 23 Kansas City Cheifs

NFL.com Charles Davis- No. 28 Carolina Panthers

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Conquest Chronicles

You must be a member of Conquest Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Conquest Chronicles. You should read them.

Join Conquest Chronicles

You must be a member of Conquest Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Conquest Chronicles. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker