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USC's Marqise Lee is leaving for the NFL

Wide receiver announces he will forgo his senior season and make himself eligible for NFL draft.

January 03, 2014|Staff and Wire reports
  • Wide receiver Marqise Lee announced he will not be returning to USC for his senior season and will be making himself available for the NFL draft in May.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee announced he will not be returning to USC for his… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC receiver Marqise Lee announced Friday that he will forgo his final season of eligibility and make himself available for the NFL draft.

Lee, who is projected as a possible first-round NFL draft pick, announced his decision on his Twitter feed.

"I want to thank my coaches teammates, staff and the entire Trojan Family for all of the support over the last three seasons," Lee wrote. "I am a proud Trojan and will remain a Trojan for life!"

Lee is the fourth draft-eligible USC player to announce he is turning pro, joining safety Dion Bailey, center Marcus Martin and defensive lineman George Uko.

Lee was an All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award as college football's top receiver in 2012, when he caught a school-record 118 passes and scored 14 touchdowns. He finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting.

But the former Gardena Serra High star was hampered this season by injuries. He injured a shoulder during training camp, a knee in the Trojans' fifth game against Arizona State and a shin against Stanford.

Lee was recovered from injuries for the Las Vegas Bowl and he scored two touchdowns in the Trojans' 45-20 victory over Fresno State.

Lee finished the season with 57 receptions. He had 248 in his career, four shy of Robert Woods' USC record of 252.

—Gary Klein


Texas will offer its football head coaching job to Louisville's Charlie Strong and he is expected to accept, a person familiar with the search told the Associated Press on Friday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was being kept confidential and had not been completed. Texas has been looking to replace Mack Brown, who stepped down in December after 16 seasons with the Longhorns.

Strong is in his fourth year at Louisville and coming off his second straight double-digit-victory season. He took over a program coming off three straight non-winning seasons and is 37-15.


Four-way tie for lead in Hawaii

Jordan Spieth was among the newcomers who felt right at home Friday at Kapalua.

Coming off a remarkable rookie season, Spieth made a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a seven-under-par 66 to share the lead after one round of the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii with Chris Kirk, Michael Thompson and Webb Simpson.

Spieth and Thompson have never played in this winners-only event before.

Kirk is playing for the first time since he won the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island, Ga. He birdied his last five holes, the last two into wind that required some of his best shots. Thompson also played his best golf late in the round, with four birdies on the final five holes of the Plantation Course.


Michael Schumacher's friends and family took turns by his hospital bed Friday, as fans rallied outside the hospital in Grenoble, France, to support the critically injured Formula One great on his 45th birthday.

Schumacher has been in a medically induced coma since Sunday, when he fell while skiing and struck his head on a rock. His manager, Sabine Kehm, said his condition remains stable but critical.


Serena Williams extended her winning streak against Maria Sharapova to 14 matches with a 6-2, 7-6 (7) semifinal victory in Australia to earn a shot at consecutive Brisbane International titles.

The defending champion will play second-seeded Victoria Azarenka in Saturday's final.


Rafael Nadal reached the final of the Qatar Open by coming from behind to beat German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Nadal is looking for his first title in Doha and will face Gael Monfils of France, who needed only 55 minutes to dispatch Florian Mayer of Germany, 6-3, 6-2, in the other semifinal.


Stanislas Wawrinka earned his 300th win on the ATP tour as he breezed past Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, 6-2, 6-1, to reach the semifinals of the Chennai Open in India.


Colorado Rockies co-owner Charlie Monfort pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation during which his alcohol use will be monitored.

The plea stemmed from his arrest on Nov. 4 in Windsor, Colo., where police say he was pulled over and found to be driving with a breath alcohol concentration level more than three times the legal limit.

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