An Interview With Travis Lee

Travis Lee was one of the key elements in the North Carolina Shrine Bowl victory over the Sandlappers recently. A good looking wide receiver prospect, who happened to be a quarterback by trade. We caught up with the Shelby, NC native and asked him questions everyone wanted asked ...

Bio Facts: Travis Lee, WR, 6-1, 188 pounds, 4.42 forty, bench press 270, vertical leap 35 inches.

Travis, talk about your high school career a little bit and let the Gamecock fans reading this know how you did your junior and senior seasons.

"In high school as a junior I played quarterback. But I played receiver sometimes too when they needed me. I only had like 12 touchdowns as a WR my junior year for 1000 yards. My senior year I threw for 2000 yards and rushed for another 1000 yards. I had 22 passing touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns. But South Carolina coaches told me they wanted to use me in the slot both as a wide receiver and sometimes in the backfield. The same way they used Ryan Brewer."

What did you like about your visits to South Carolina? Things like the facilities, the fans and the campus?

"The fans down there are rowdy all the time and I really like that. I loved campus, and of all the other campuses I went to I learned more about the history of a school at South Carolina than anywhere else."

"I really liked the family atmosphere with the coaches and fans and the community around there. I felt real comfortable each time I went to games down there. I went to three games and every time it got better."

Who was your host on your official visit? And how long had South Carolina been recruiting you?

"Josh Malloy was my host in Columbia. He went to Crest High School in Shelby like me. He was a good host and he likes it at USC a lot down there. He really didn't try to influence me that much because he knew I already had my mind made up to be a Gamecock probably last summer sometime. South Carolina coaches offered me way back in the spring of last year (2003) before the end of my junior season."

What other schools made official offers to you and what other schools did you visit?

"Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, UNC, NC State all offered me ... but South Carolina was the only place I took an official visit to. USC was the school for me from the beginning and I never changed my mind. I visited some other schools with my friends unofficially but South Carolina was the only official visit."

Got any younger brothers who might be stars in the future?

"I have a younger brother who is 16 who is playing quarterback for my high school team. He'll be a junior next year and he will start in my old position. I think he will be as good or better than me. He has that kind of potential."

What are your best attributes as a football player?

"I like to make plays, and the way to do that for me as a wide receiver is with yards after the catch. A lot of people can catch the ball and fall down, but my job doesn't really start until I catch the ball and turn it into big gains. Yards after the catch is what it is all about for receivers."

Travis had two touchdown receptions in the Shrine Bowl game, both times burning Jonathan Hefney, the Rock Hill DB who signed with Tennessee.

Tell us about your Shrine Bowl experience.

"Really, the Shrine Bowl as far as the speed of the game from a regular high school game, the speed of the game changed a lot. Plus I got knocked around a lot because the guys hitting me were bigger and faster. But as far as me scoring touchdowns it was okay, I guess the best part of the whole experience though was just how much fun it was. It was really a lot of fun up there."

"Chris (Leake), I don't know ... he's something special. What sets him apart from a lot of quarterbacks is not only his athletic ability but he is smart. When it comes to making decisions he just seems to do it naturally on the football field."

"You know, when we play Florida and I see Chris again ... I haven't really thought about it yet but I don't know ... it's going to be fun. We'll beat them I know that."

What was it like for you getting to know a legend like Lou Holtz?

"It was nice getting to know Lou Holtz and talking with him. He has a lot of knowledge about football but more importantly he cares about other things than football. I had a lot of coaches talking to me and you want to know the truth? Most of the coaches out there don't care about anything but football. But Coach Holtz came to my school and I thought he was going to talk about football and instead he pulled me aside and talked to me about my grades and how important they are. He encouraged me, he actually got onto me a little bit to try to motivate me and it did. I really liked that about him. I can't wait to play for him. It's not something I would just say. I really mean it when I tell you he cares about people for who they are instead of just caring about them as football players."

Okay here comes the tough question ... and you do not have to talk about this if it makes you uncomfortable in any way. But how is it going with the grades. Do you feel you will qualify the way it stands right now?

"I am not a good test taker. I try hard and I study hard but sometimes it is real hard to understand some of the things they ask you on those tests. I have a 2.7 GPA but I'm still working on my test score. I've taken it twice and I still have to get it up. I took it once in May of last year and then again in the middle of football season when I probably shouldn't have. I'm still like 40 points away on my SAT so I have some work to do. I have already taken the ACT once too but I haven't gotten my results back yet - I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I plan on taking both tests again but I haven't registered yet to retake the tests because I just want to calm down and try to look at it differently than the first couple of times when I wasn't ready. I took a SAT prep class and I am hoping that will help me this next go-round. For some reason I am having a hard time with those tests. I get nervous and everytime I miss my score the stakes go up and time gets shorter so I get more nervous in those situations. But I am definitely taking the tests again because I do not want to have to go to a prep school or a junior college."

"The USC coaches are staying out of it and not putting any additional pressure on me. They encourage me but they do not tell me I have to do this or that or anything. They are just backing me and being supportive."

"I'll talk to Coach Guge sometime this week about things, either today or tomorrow. But they haven't mentioned one word to me so far about a junior college or anything like that because all they want me to do right now is concentrate on what I have to do to become elgible this season."

Anything you would like to say to the Gamecock fans on that will be reading this?

"I'm going to get that test score taken care of don't worry. I'm looking forward to being a Gamecock and putting on a show for all of the fans down there in the upcoming years. I really have always liked it down there since the day they started recruiting me and now it is a dream of mine to wear that uniform and play for the fans in that stadium one day soon."

It is a dream of ours too Travis. We are pulling for you. Good luck and there is no doubt in our minds that one day soon your dream will come true.

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