Opportunity Is Calling For Football Freshman

A young member of the Auburn football team has a chance to contribute this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Patrick Lee, a 6-0, 195-pound redshirt freshman, is currently running at second-string cornerback along with Kevin Hobbs. Lee is backing up Carlos Rogers and Hobbs is backing up Montae Pitts.

"I'm running with the twos right now because we had a little incident (Tuesday) with Zac (cornerback Zac Gilbert), but he'll be back," Lee says. "I'm still going to be fighting."

Gilbert injured his leg in practice and was taken to East Alabama Medical Center for X-rays. Those were negative and Gilbert is back on the practice field trying to make up for lost time.

Patrick Lee is getting plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.

Auburn's cornerback depth has taken several hits. David Irons tore his ACL during preseason practice and will miss the entire season. Courtney Denson left the team during two-a-days to transfer to the University of South Florida where he wants to play quarterback. Another cornerback, Lamel Ages, transferred to Tennessee State in August in search of more playing time.

Lee says that he wants to make his move up the depth chart by playing well instead of having others go down with injuries. "I really don't like that the opportunity came from other players getting hurt," he says. "I would rather fight for my position. I pray for the other guys."

With the string of injuries to the cornerbacks, Lee has taken advantage of the situation and has been playing well lately, says defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. "Patrick is coming on," Chizik says. "He is playing much better than he did in spring training. We need him to keep on improving to build depth at cornerback."

Lee is one of the latest in a long line of South Florida high school standouts to play football for the Tigers. Several current Tigers are from that area. Lee attended Christopher Columbus High School where he was a standout in football and track, winning the state championship in the long jump.

Last season Lee was on the scout team and took a redshirt year to develop. "It helped me out by watching the veterans like Carlos (Rogers) and them play," he says. "I watched him and saw how he does it. Coach Yox's workouts got me in shape."

Chizik says that Lee will have the opportunity to earn early playing time as a redshirt freshman if he continues to make progress in the preseason. Lee and the Tigers are less than a week away from opening day when they face Sun Belt Conference opponent Louisiana-Monroe at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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