West­lake grad­u­ate Lee se­lected in NFL draft by Raiders

West­lake grad­u­ate se­lected in NFL Draft by Oak­land Raiders

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Mar­quel Lee played the wait­ing game into day three of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Now, the next game the 2013 West­lake High School grad­u­ate will play will be as a mem­ber of the Oak­land Raiders.

The Raiders drafted Lee in the fifth round, the 168th over­all se­lec­tion, on Satur­day. Lee was just the sec­ond player ever in West­lake’s his­tory, the other was Randy Starks, a 2001 West­lake grad­u­ate who was se­lected in the third round by the Ten­nessee Ti­tans in 2004.

“It was just a sense of re­lief to get drafted. This has al­ways been my dream and it fi­nally came true,” said Lee, a for­mer Wake For­est Univer­sity line­backer. “I was at home with my fam­ily watch­ing the draft, went down­stairs and that is when I got the call from the Raiders.”

Lee’s fa­ther Corey Lee, an as­sis­tant on the West­lake foot­ball team, grew up in Los An­ge­les and is a die-hard Raiders fan.

“It is ex­tremely spe­cial to see all of Mar­quel’s hard work pay off,” Corey Lee said. “It was a bless­ing to see him get drafted to my fa­vorite team. He has a tre­men­dous up­side. All of his high school coaches Do­minic Zac­carelli, Mar­lon Cur­tis, West­lake pound-ball coaches and col­lege coaches had a big im­pact on him.”

With a need to strengthen their de­fense, Raiders gen­eral man­ager Reg­gie McKen­zie fi­nally found the line­backer that they were look­ing for in Lee, who is ex­pected to com­pete for a start­ing spot right away.

Lee fills need on Oak­land’s ros­ter for a mid­dle line­backer who can help shore up the run de­fense, pro­duce some pass rush and have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties play­ing from side­line to side­line.

“I’ve been pretty good in cov­er­age and I’m a very phys­i­cal player at the line of scrimmage,” said the younger Lee on what he will bring to the Raiders. “I shed blocks well and go from side­line to side­line. My mo­tor never stops.”

Last sea­son, the Raiders were near the bot­tom fin­ished last in the NFL in sacks with 25, al­lowed more 20-yard re­cep­tions than any team and gave up 4.5 yards per carry.

Strong ef­forts at the NFL Scout­ing Com­bine in Indianapolis in Fe­bru­ary helped Lee’s draft sta­tus. He up 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, which was the sec­ond most among lineback­ers, had a ver­ti­cal leap of 31 inches and a broad jump of 118 inches.

At his NFL Pro Day in March, scouts raved at Lee’s phys­i­cal stature at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds and his agility and ath­leti­cism, run­ning a 4.6 40-yard dash time.

“I did a lot of drills in the com­bine that will trans­late to the field,” Lee said. “I just have to work on pol­ish­ing my at­tack on the ball and go­ing after the ball. That is what I have to im­prove on. In zone drop­ping, I feel that I can cover any­body.”

In his four years at At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence out­fit Wake For­est, Lee was a three-year starter and one of the most tena­cious lineback­ers in the con­fer­ence. He had a break­out sea­son as a sopho­more, de­liv­er­ing 101 tack­les, 12 for loss with four sacks. After 71 to­tal tack­les as a ju­nior, he had the best sea­son of his ca­reer as a se­nior with 105 tack­les, 20 for loss, and 7.5 sacks with three forced fum­bles.

He also boasted All-ACC sec­ond-team de­fense honors in his fi­nal sea­son un­der De­mon Dea­cons head coach Dave Claw­son.

Lee helped lead the De­mon Dea­cons to a 7-6 record and a 34-26 win over Tem­ple in the Mil­i­tary Bowl in An­napo­lis. It was the first bowl win for the pro­gram since 2008.

At West­lake, Lee was a three-year starter and known as emo­tional leader and two-year cap­tain. While he was an All-SMAC line­backer dur­ing his time with the Wolver­ines, he was the team’s start­ing quar­ter­back as a ju­nior, throw­ing for 800 yards that sea­son.

Zac­carelli, West­lake’s ath­letic di­rec­tor and for­mer head foot­ball coach, coached Lee for two sea­sons.

“When he got re­cruited by Wake For­est a lot of peo­ple didn’t think he was fast enough or good enough to play at the col­lege level,” Zac­carelli said. “But time and time again Mar­quel re­fuses to be de­nied. He has tre­men­dous work ethic and it is re­ward­ing to see him get a de­gree from one of the top univer­si­ties in the country and be able to play the game he loves at the pro level.”

Zac­carelli added: They are get­ting a high qual­ity, phys­i­cal line­backer with size and great pass rush­ing abil­ity. “As he learns the game at the pro level he has a chance to do great things. He has al­ways watched a lot of film, so he knows what he has to do.”

Cur­tis, also a for­mer head foot­ball coach at West­lake, coached Lee in his se­nior sea­son where the Wolver­ines fin­ished with a 8-4 record. Cur­tis was a for­mer of­fen­sive tackle for Wake For­est.

“Amaz­ing. It truly is spe­cial be­cause not only was apart of my first grad­u­at­ing class from West­lake as a head coach, he is now an alum of the same col­lege I went to,” Cur­tis said. “I wit­nessed first hand how mo­ti­vated Mar­quel is when he wants some­thing. He trained with me early on and just con­tin­ued to chase his dreams no mat­ter what ob­sta­cles he may have en­coun­tered.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Mar­quel Lee, a 2013 West­lake High School grad­u­ate out of Wake For­est Univer­sity, was se­lected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Satur­day by the Oak­land Raiders.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Mar­quel Lee, a 2013 West­lake High School grad­u­ate pic­tured here go­ing through drills in the NFL Scout­ing Com­bine in Fe­bru­ary, was se­lected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Satur­day by the Oak­land Raiders.

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