Marqise Lee wins first Biletnikoff for USC
The Fred Biletnikoff Award was established in 1994 and is presented to the nation’s top receiver. No Trojan had claimed the award in its first 18 years of existence. Not Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Williams, Dwayne Jarrett, or Robert Woods, who were all honored as finalists, but returned home empty-handed. Now in the nineteenth year, USC finally breaks through, with sophomore Marqise Lee named the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner.
Lee’s season accomplishments could not be ignore. With one bowl contest remaining, he is the national leader in receptions per game. He also places second, behind Baylor’s Terrance Williams, in receiving yards per game and total receiving yards. What separates the Trojan wide out from the Baylor Bear is versatility. No player in the country was more dangerous with the ball in his hands, and this is exemplified by Lee’s third-place finish in all-purpose running.
2012 saw Lee establish school and conference records for single-season receptions and yards. He currently stands at 112 receptions, 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns. He recorded double-digit receptions in 7 of 12 games, and reached the 100-yard receiving plateau eight times.
Lee became the third Pac 12 receiver to win the Biletnikoff Award, with the last being Oregon State’s Mike Haas in 2005. Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon are the only two-time Biletnikoff winners, which is something Lee will aim for in his junior season. Blackmon edged USC’s Robert Woods in 2011 to claim his second Award.