2015 NFL Draft: Miles College Cornerback Travis Lee
December 17, 2014
Travis Lee is a 24-year-old small-school cornerback from Miles College in Fairfield Alabama. The fact that he is a small school player shouldn’t be an issue as the NFL is riddled with cornerbacks coming from smaller schools. He is entering the 2015 NFL draft process and is one of the players who fit the current NFL cornerback mold, meaning he has a great blend of size, length and speed for the position.
There are always questions for the small-school players to answer and it is best when those answers come on the field through the play of the individual. In Lee’s case, it is fairly easy to see where he stands out and that is through his speed and physicality. His speed gives him the range to cover a lot of area and his physicality allows him to press wide receivers and play one-on-one, and it helps him to step up and support against the run.
I interviewed Lee after his senior season at Miles College while he was preparing for all-star games like the Medal of Honor Bowl and the Gridiron Classic. Lee finished the 2014 season with six interceptions, seven pass breakups and 30 total tackles. He is a confident young man with a swagger about him, and he clearly loves the game.
I asked him how big he was and he said he was six feet tall and 184 pounds.
I wanted to know about his style of play so I asked what he liked to do as a cornerback.
“I like to use the bait word. I like to bait the quarterback. I like to play possum with them. I like to make them think that I’m playing a different coverage, to disguise my coverage. They know that I’m more of a physical corner. I’d rather be physical. I’d rather get my hands on a receiver and disrupt his timing with his quarterback. I’ll walk down sometimes in cover three making it seem like I’m in man or I’m up in press and I’ll bail just trying to mess with the quarterback. I like to think of it like Tom and Jerry. You can never catch the mouse, but you always know where the mouse is. I like to use my knowledge to bait the quarterback.”
I asked if he liked to play in press coverage and he said that he “loved to play in press coverage.” He also said “I can play off but I prefer to play man off” and he followed that up by saying that he could play in all coverages but his preference was to play in press and “even in cover two I love to make it look like man, I love to press.”
When I asked about a defining moment in his career or his favorite moment from college he told me about a game he had to play in which he didn’t expect to play but he needed to because another player got sick, and that pushed him into the lineup.
“The North Alabama playoff game last year. That’s when I knew I had it. I went out there without practicing for two weeks and played a full game just on natural ability and what I know about the game. I made some big plays in that game and it started people trying to know who I am. I guess that’d be one of my best games, I just thought that game on the big stage against one of the top division 2 schools was one of my best performances.”
He described that this game served as a means to motivate him as he learned there was more to the game and it made him work to be better as a teammate and as an individual. He learned that whatever he did for the team was best for not only the team, but for him as well.
We talked about workouts and he said he hoped to run somewhere in the 4.3’s in the 40-yard dash but that he would be okay if he ran a 4.40. I asked him what he hoped to show scouts and teams when he had the opportunity at all-star games or at private workouts, aside from his speed.
“I want to show everyone that I’m just a humble kid, a humble guy who stayed focused through the obstacles that I had throughout my college career while earning a degree at the same time, that I took education serious. I want them to know that I made mistakes in college but that doesn’t show what my character is. I’m a hard-working, dedicated young man who is ready to do whatever it takes to pursue my dream in the NFL. I want them to know that I don’t have any conduct issues or anything negative that stands in my way. I’m just a fun guy who loves the game and has passion for the game and when you watch my film I just want you to know you getting a guy who takes film serious, who knows the game. Not someone who is just playing the game, but someone who knows route combinations and everything that it takes to be a great player in the NFL.”
Lee said he played all special teams and he felt they were very important to him because they were critical areas that helped teams to win games.
I asked him for a message to the fans of the team that drafts him.
“First I want to tell them thank you for giving me the opportunity and I want to let them know that you’re getting a real charismatic young man who is willing to put it all out for his brothers and the organization. You’re getting someone who’s not going to be a cancer to the team, someone who on the field is going to bring leadership because I’m an older guy. I just want them to know that I’m coming in with a great head on my shoulders and a kind of chip, a chip on my shoulder where I want to show guys that I can hang and play with the big guys even though I’m a kid from a small school.”
When I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to talk about, he got real serious and talked about getting his degree. He stressed that he never gave up on getting his degree, and he worked through a lot of adversity to get it, and he’s extremely proud of it.
“I was a kid who grew up with basically nothing. I went to college without any support. No family support, so and I want kids to know that I’m a kid who came from basically nothing and just fought and never gave up and got his degree and you to know that, let people know it’s all right to get a degree. I got my degree and now I’m chasing my dream.”
It’s a real honor to talk to a person like Travis Lee. It’s very inspiring to hear him talk about earning that degree and his story serves as a reminder to never give up on a dream. I look forward to watching his story play out as he works to live that dream as an NFL player. http://www.newerascouting.com/2014/12/17/2015-nfl-draft-miles-college-cornerback-travis-lee/