2013 Virginia Football Roster Profile: Darius Lee

We've hit the 40 day mark. Just 40 days until kickoff. Today, we look at sophomore S/OLB Darius Lee. Lee was recruited as a LB, because Coach Mike London likes fast LBs. But Lee was initially slotted at S. He wasn't strong enough to take on blockers at the point of attack. He still isn't, and yet he's listed on the depth chart as a LB. On the roster, however, he's still a S. On the field, he'll be a special teams standout.

Position: S
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215
Hometown: Alexandria, Va
High School: St Stephens and St Agnes
Year: RS Sophomore

Much of what was said about Demeitre Brim could've been said about Darius Lee as well. He's a bit of a tweener. Either he's a big safety or he's a small LB. He was rated a 2 star OLB by Rivals, a 3 star OLB by ESPN and a 3 star S by Scout. In HS, he played WR, S and OLB. He was recruited by most schools as a S/OLB, and had offers from Duke, Kansas State and some FCS schools. It didn't help Lee that his HS team was not a strong one. He was skipped over by many scouts who simply didn't pay them any attention.

The Hoos actually recruited him with the intent of playing him at OLB, but he was slotted at S right away. During his redshirt freshman season, he was listed at FS. He is now listed on the roster at SS, but listed on the depth chart as the 4th string WLB.

Lee certainly has the quickness to play S. Speed-wise, he and Brim are similar, but Lee has a bit more lateral quickness. Lee is also smaller than Brim, and not as strong. This is likely the reason Lee has remained at S, as he hasn't been able to bulk up much. His place on the depth chart maybe just be wishful thinking. The Hoos would love to have a 4.5ish guy at WLB, but Lee isn't ready to be that guy.

As a S, Lee has the ability to be a good cover guy. He could even a guy who covers a bigger WR in man coverage. His experience as a LB should also make him a solid pass rusher on a safety blitz, something Jon Tenuta likes to do. Whether he could consistently step up and make plays against the run game is yet to be determined. This, again, is why he hasn't cracked the lineup at either S or LB.

Last season, Lee played extensively on special teams during the 8 games he was healthy for (he missed 4 games with injuries). He seems likely to repeat that role, although he is unlikely to see the field on defense. As a special teams player, Lee has enough speed and quickness to be a real asset. He's also good in space and can avoid blockers using that quickness.

The Hoos are deeper at S than at LB, but Lee is still better suited to play S. If he can add another 15 pounds of muscle, he'll look at lot better at LB and may get some looks there over the next few years.

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