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USC's Marqise Lee to watch and wait at pro day workout

'My time will come around,' says Lee, who will be a junior in the fall and remains sidelined by a knee injury. He is expected to be a Heisman front-runner and eventual first-round NFL draft pick.

March 26, 2013|By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times
  • Wide receiver Marqise Lee takes his helmet off on the first day of spring practice at USC.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee takes his helmet off on the first day of spring… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

USC receiver Marqise Lee will be an interested observer Wednesday when former teammates such as quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods go through their pro day workout for NFL scouts on campus.

But Lee, who will be a junior in the fall, said he was not envious of those getting ready to make the leap to the pros.

"I'm going to be cheering them on," he said after the Trojans returned to practice Tuesday. "My time will come around."

Lee, the Biletnikoff Award winner as college football's top receiver, remains sidelined because of a knee injury he suffered during a drill two weeks ago. He said he was ready to practice but Coach Lane Kiffin was holding him out.

Lee is expected to be among the front-runners contending for the Heisman Trophy in the fall and an eventual first-round NFL draft pick.

Barring injury, that will almost certainly occur in 2014, when Lee becomes draft-eligible after the upcoming season.

But Lee played it politically correct when answering a question about a plaque bearing his name and likeness that was recently mounted on USC's All-American walk.

"By me having the next two years … I've got to really compete to make sure and let everybody know why I should be on the wall with those great players," he said.

Lee said he would once again compete for the Trojans' track and field team after spring practice. Last year, Lee had a personal-best mark of 25 feet 51/2 inches in the long jump. He placed 17th at the NCAA championships with a leap of 24-21/4 .

USCTrojans.com and the Pac-12 Networks will televise the bench press, vertical and broad jumps and measurements portions of pro day about 10:25 a.m. The NFL Network will broadcast and ESPN3.com will livestream the outdoor workouts starting about 11:15 a.m.

Wittek returns

All Trojans quarterbacks wear a stabilizing brace on their left knee, but Max Wittek also had one on the right as he returned to practice after two weeks because of a knee sprain.

"I felt like a cybertron out here," he said.

Wittek rejoined a competition with fellow third-year sophomore Cody Kessler and freshman Max Browne.

Kiffin has said the Trojans could finish spring workouts without a definitive No. 1 quarterback going into summer.

"You always want to be as high up as possible," Wittek said, adding that being No. 1 "would bring you somewhat a peace of mind. But, either way it goes, I'm comfortable with it and confident in myself."

Quick hits

Tailback Silas Redd, who had knee surgery last week, attended practice and said he was on schedule to recover in six weeks. "I'll be fine by summer workouts," he said…. Left tackle Aundrey Walker has improved, Kiffin said. "Aundrey last year didn't have a very good year, didn't finish very well," he said. "We've seen some improvement with him in technique and in confidence level as well." On Tuesday, Marcus Martin continued to work at center, Max Tuerk at left guard. Asked whether he would consider moving Walker to left guard and returning Tuerk to left tackle, Kiffin said, "We've thought about that and it definitely was in our conversation, but the fact that we've seen this much improvement…we're not ready to make that move." … Kiffin said the Trojans returned from a week off for spring break without incident.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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