Getting in the trenches and pushing around defensive linemen is something
But a quick look at Lee shows he isn't the prototypical offensive lineman. He weighs just 160 pounds, for goodness sake. However, his weight doesn't gauge the size of his heart or his work ethic. Lee proved a lot of football coaches, players and fans wrong this year.
As a sophomore on the Pearl River (La.)
football team, Lee went into preseason practices looking to battle for the starting right guard position. A junior with experience was the frontrunner, but that didn't slow down Lee.
"I thought I was going to go out there and work my butt off and see what I can show," Lee said. "I was hoping to go in and take him down but I wasn't expecting for it to play out the way it did. I still had the thought in my mind that I was going to be a backup this go-around until maybe my junior year."
During an early season practice, the starting right guard went down with a season-ending injury. Pearl River coach Joe Harris plugged in another junior into the vacant position.
"One of the other coaches, coach Bennett, he was feeding it into (coach Harris') ear, ‘Hey, Cam knows his stuff, throw him in there,' " Lee said. "So, they gave me an opportunity at practice, and I took it."
Harris suggested Lee wear an arm band that spells out all the offensive plays. Lee told his coach he didn't need it — he would be memorizing all the plays.
Lee, who was the recipient of the team's Step-Up Award at the end-of-the-year banquet, was by far the smallest and youngest player on Pearl River's offensive line. Lee also competes in powerlifting at his high school, which has helped him bulk up. Even with his small stature, Lee can dead lift 330 pounds.
"I'm smaller than everybody, so my size helps," Lee said. "Everybody thinks I'm the small, short, skinny guy on the line, but I just show them what I can do."
When people think Lee can't do something, that just pushes him even more. He started 11 games in helping his team to an 11-3 record and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs.
"He came out of nowhere," Harris said. "I watched him play a little freshman ball and I really didn't anticipate him being a starter. Then we had a kid go down at right guard and he stepped in there. I'll tell you what, he really turned it on. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. He had a good year."
Pearl River ran a wing-T offense last season, so run blocking was paramount. Lee was taught shoulder blocking techniques by his coach. He excelled.
"He's very coachable," Harris said. "He's very good at shoulder skills. We run that old Wing-T, so we teach our guards to block with their shoulders, and he bought in, man. He really understood how to do it. He was able to compete with guys who are a lot bigger and stronger."
When watching film sessions, Harris was always amazed by Lee's ability in the trenches against the big boys.
"I would use him as an example a lot of times as far as buying into the technique I was trying to teach," Harris said. "Hopefully, he's got a lot of confidence. He had a good year and he's got two left."
The 16-year-old is still raw as an offensive lineman, picking up the position at the start of his freshman season. That year he also played strong safety on defense. Being a right guard and strong safety is certainly an interesting combination for a player.
"It was actually pretty cool, I got to block guys and run down the field and hit other players as I was blocking for my running back," Lee said. "Then I jump on defense and make some interceptions. I think the most interceptions I had in a game was four."
When Lee was a freshman, he dressed for varsity games and was on the sidelines. When the horn sounded for halftime and his teammates exited the field for the locker room, Lee would shed his helmet, grab his tenor saxophone and join the band at midfield.
Lee loved played in the band at halftime, and the crowd also enjoyed seeing a player — in full uniform — pulling double duty. But once Lee earned a starting nod on the football team, the band gig proved more difficult.
"I think I nipped that in the bud," Harris said. "I think he did it until he became a starter and we didn't think it would work anymore."
No worries, Lee was getting the opportunity to start as a sophomore. He couldn't ask for anything more.
Competing in football as well as playing in the band are small pieces that show how well-rounded Lee is as a person. When powerlifting wraps up in the spring, Lee will compete in his third sport of the year, track and field.
"I love being active," Lee said. "I can't stand being home, laid up in bed trying to play a video game. I love to be out doing stuff. I love being active in the school. I love being active in sports."
Lee is also a sound student with a 3.5 grade point average, challenging himself this semester with three honors courses.
Volunteering is also important to Lee. He logs most of his time helping others during mission trips through the Baptist church he attends.
This past summer, Lee traveled to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a two-week mission to help less fortunate community members with chores, e.g. cutting grass, all the while spreading the gospel to kids.
Lee, who is relied on to say the team prayer before each football game, finds it reassuring in his life to send a positive message to those who struggle with poverty.
"The kids that show up, you can just see the looks on their faces of the depression," Lee said. "It's a relief knowing you can go there and spread the gospel and get them to keep going and push through it and get through life."
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