Lee: "It's a whole different world"

"It's a whole different world," was how linebacker Sean Lee described the differences in intensity between high school practices at Upper St. Clair near Pittsburgh and the three weeks of workouts he has participated in with the Nittany Lions this summer. "The level of intensity is like night and day."

A different world could also describe Lee's role at linebacker, for Lee has never played the position and will take the field for the first time in his new role during Saturday's Big 33 Classic.

"It's been tough, I can't deny that, it is like learning everything all over again," remarked Lee prior to a practice session in Hershey. Lee, who rushed for 1,240 yards on 187 carries as a senior tailback at Upper St. Clair, played safety on the defensive team. "I just have to work until everything falls into place."

From all accounts, everything is falling into place very well and very quickly. "The kid can freakin' play football," observed Bob Palko, who has seen other Pennsylvania linebackers. "I know Paul Posluszny, and I know Danny Connor, and I promise you this kid will play early at Penn State."

Lee has assumed the unofficial "quarterback" role on the Pennsylvania Big 33 defense. When practice begins to get sloppy, it is Lee stepping in front of the line, getting into the faces of the other players and encouraging them to focus. "We're always pushing each other, and that's what will make us very good this year," said Lee of his Penn State linebacker teammates, Posluszny and Connor, when asked about published reports that he outraced the former over 300 yards during team workouts. "That's all it is, we are just all working to make each other better." This trait has carried over to Lee's approach to Big 33 practices.

"We want Lee," has been the challenge from backs and receivers on the Big 33 squad, who want to test themselves against the best defender. Lee shrugs off his perceived toughness by referring to father Craig, who he says "taught me the way to play, and to play hard all the time."

Lee's passion for excellence extends beyond the football field, Sean is also a first-class student who carried a 3.7 GPA at Upper St. Clair. Lee also started for three years on Upper St. Clair's basketball team, which compiled a record of 75-12 with Lee on the team.

When asked to identify standouts on the Pa. Big 33 team, Lee was quick to talk about the offense, telling FOS, "There is a lot of talent on our offense, and if they get it clicking, they are going to be hard to stop. Look for us to play hard on Saturday."

For Lee, who acquired the nickname "General" from his high school teammates, playing hard is business as usual.


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