Marqise Lee looks to get 'up to par'
LOS ANGELES -- Former USC wide receiver Marqise Lee returned to campus Wednesday looking to improve his draft stock at the Trojans' pro day, but he skipped most drills from the workout itinerary in front of scouts.
The 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner said he was content with his performance at last month's NFL combine in Indianapolis, which included a somewhat underwhelming 4.52-second mark in the 40-yard dash. Lee did not attempt, or even consider, cutting that mark Wednesday, focusing instead on showing off his catching and route-running abilities.
"I knew I could do better, but you've got to understand film is different from the actual 40," Lee said. "I knew my film would make up for the time I didn't get."
Lee, a projected first-round selection who battled a left knee injury throughout the 2013 season, did go through cone drills and caught passes during an on-field session that lasted just more than an hour. He also did 11 reps in the 225-pound bench press, a workout he didn't partake in at the combine.
In Indianapolis, Lee was the top performer among receivers in the broad jump (10 feet, 7 inches) and had one of the best vertical jumps (38 inches), but his 40 time appeared to pave the way for Texas A&M's Mike Evans to overtake him in some mock drafts.
"Yeah, I didn't run the 40 like I wanted to -- fast -- but I still stuck a decent time," Lee said of his combine effort. "My jumping was great, and in meetings I was myself. Being myself is not bad, so I think I did well. If I had to give myself a grade out of everything, I'd give myself a B-plus. You can't give yourself too much."
Aside from earning the Biletnikoff Award in 2012, Lee was a first-team All-America selection and the Pac-12 offensive player of the year that season. He owns or shares 22 school records despite missing three games last fall due to the nagging knee injury.
Lee said a return to USC made for a more relaxed setting.
"Way more comfortable," he said. "At the combine, there's stage fright for sure -- a lot going on, especially the days leading up to it with TV and being an NFL debut. It's nerve-racking on that side, but coming home to SC, practicing here the last three years, it was a lot more comfortable."
Lee said he would be open to working out individually for interested teams. Every NFL team had a representative in attendance.
"As much as I did out here, there were things I could have done better," Lee said. "My catching and everything is there, I'm just trying to get fully up to par to the Marqise people want me to get back to."