USC's Lee Tops Pac-12's Biletnikoff Hopefuls
By Christopher Wuensch
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc. released its 20th-annual preseason Fred Biletnikoff Award Watch List on Tuesday. Among the 75 wide receivers named to the list, seven of them represent the Pac-12 — including the award’s incumbent winner, Marqise Lee of Southern California.
Each year, a panel of more than 200 prominent college football journalists, commentators and former receivers vote on the nation’s most outstanding pass catcher.
Generally speaking, the panel almost always gets it correct. Former receivers with a Biletnikoff Trophy on their mantle and accompanying ring on their finger(s) include Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss.
The Pac-12 hasn’t fared stellar in past years despite its recent success. Oregon State’s Mike Hass (2005) and Troy Walters of Stanford (1999) are the conference’s only award winners not named Lee.
Can Lee repeat or will another Pac-12 receiver step up and wow the nation? Semifinalist and finalist votes in late November are not bound by the original list, and a lot could change.
Let's take a look at the Pac-12’s seven representatives on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
Marquise Lee, USC
Working against Marqise Lee’s repeat performance could be a lack of a rapport with whomever becomes the new Trojans quarterback.
That said, you get the feeling Lee will succeed with just about anyone feeding him the ball.
The rising junior was a unanimous All-American and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2013. He enters the fall in the conversation among this year’s potential Heisman Award candidates.
That’s all in part to 2,864 career receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. In just two seasons, he’s broken or tied 22 USC and five Pac-12 records and established one new NCAA mark.
He’d become the third player to win the award twice, following in the burned rubber previously left by Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon (2010 and ‘11) and Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech (2007 and ‘08).