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Marqise Lee making another big leap at USC

The star receiver, who has been dominant in spring practice, has also excelled in track and field. Last weekend he won the long jump event at the Trojan Invitational.

March 27, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • USC wide receiver Marqise Lee has made a big impact on the Trojans' track and field team.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee has made a big impact on the Trojans'… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

USC receiver Marqise Lee has been on the move all spring, making spectacular leaping catches on the football field and competing for the Trojans track team in what amounts to his spare time.

Last weekend, after running pass routes and blocking defenders during the week, he won the long jump event at the Trojan Invitational, which included defending NCAA champion Texas A&M.

On Friday morning, Lee will really go airborne when he travels by plane to Austin, Texas, so he can compete in the Texas Relays.

That means Lee will not participate in a Saturday football practice for the second week in a row.

"This was not my call," Ron Allice, USC's director of track and field, said Tuesday. "This wasn't part of the agenda. Lee wanted to go and [football Coach Lane] Kiffin decided to let him do it."

A few days away from football does not seem to be adversely affecting Lee, who caught 73 passes and scored 12 touchdowns last season as a freshman.

With All-American Robert Woods sidelined this spring because of a slow recovery from ankle surgery, Lee has been mastering multiple receiver positions.

"It's been a blessing in disguise for Marqise," said first-year receivers coach Tee Martin, adding, "You can tell him stuff one time, and he kind of looks at you, then he goes and does it right. You can't coach that."

On Tuesday, he showed perhaps the only sign of fatigue when he uncharacteristically dropped a pass. But he otherwise dominated again before sprinting off the field early to attend an evening class.

Kiffin reiterated that Lee "could be the best [receiver] to ever play here," if he continues to work and progress.

His potential as a track athlete also is significant. He won the long jump last week with a leap of 23 feet 11 ½ inches.

So, the dual-sport exchange continues.

Kiffin said he was not concerned about overly taxing Lee, who a few weeks ago teamed with running back D.J. Morgan and defensive backs Nickell Robey and Tony Burnett for a 400-meter relay at the season-opening Claremont Relays.

Burnett is scheduled to leave for Texas on Wednesday. He will compete Friday morning in the triple jump and travel back to Los Angeles on Friday night so he can participate in the workout Saturday at the Coliseum.

Quick hits

Sophomore Aundrey Walker, who practiced last week at left tackle, remained at that spot Tuesday. Junior Kevin Graf, who opened spring practice at left tackle, is playing on the right side. ... Sophomore receiver George Farmer did individual drills but was held out of team drills because of hamstring tightness. ... Redshirt freshman Cody Temple, switched from offensive line to defensive line this spring, will have ankle surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of spring practice, Kiffin said. ... The Trojans have completed seven of their 15 spring workouts. Spring practice concludes with an April 14 scrimmage at the Coliseum.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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