The USF football staff has been hitting the recruiting trail beyond Florida and throughout the Southeast for years. They've ventured into Alabama, a state where they found a few gems in the past and are targeting a few prospects for 2012 as well. One of them is Eric Lee, a 6-foot4, 225 pound defensive end prospect out of Daphne, AL.
Lee plays weak side defensive end for Daphne whose defense only allowed 9.53 points per game and helped lead the team to a perfect 15-0 record and a class 6A championship in 2010.
"Things are going great, we just started spring football this week," said Lee. "I've been running and working out hard in the weight room. I'm squatting 400, benching 270 and have a power clean of 250 pounds.
2010 was the first year that Lee started for Daphne and the 6-foot-4, 225 pound defensive end talks about what makes him a good football prospect.
"My best assets are my speed, height and strength," said Lee. "I'm more of a pass-rusher and have speed, but I'm strong too and can get good leverage. I also have a 101 wing span and that helps a lot."
On the recruiting front things have picked up for Lee as teams are showing interest and extending offers.
"Things are going good and things have really picked up. I went from having just four offers to 10 in just a matter of weeks," said Lee. "I have offers from Kentucky, Memphis, Missouri, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Troy, Tulane, FIU, Western Kentucky, and I just picked one up from South Florida this week."
Lee said he's been receiving letters from the Bulls for months but this was the first time he met a coach in person and got the offer.
"Coach Hargreaves from USF came by my school, told me how he liked me and about the offer," said Lee. "He talked about the school, their focus on academics, and their facilities. He told me about their defense, and about how they're in the BIG EAST and are building a team to win the conference title and have the opportunity to compete for a championship. He also told me about all the linemen they've put into the NFL and that's always a plus."
"I like Coach Hargreaves and he seems like a really good coach," said Lee. "I like his intensity and he seems like a coach that can push you to be the best you can be. He's also the defensive ends coach there so he already knows what type of player I am and what he wants out of me. He also said he liked my style of play and I'm the type of kid he wants to coach."
The Daphne D-end said he was happy to get the USF offer and is very interested in the Bulls program.
"I definitely was excited to get that offer," said Lee. "I don't know a lot about their program personally, but everybody I talk to says good things and how they're building everything up, and that they have a real good defense. They have a good business program and have my major which is business information systems and that's a plus. I'm definitely interested in them and want to check them out and find out more."
Currently Lee said he doesn't have a favorite or a top five and probably wont until the end of the spring.
"I really don't have a short list of favorites just yet," said Lee. "I plan on narrowing things down this spring and summer and then I'll have a good idea of where I'll take visits too."
The Alabama prospect talks about what is most important to him when it comes down to making his decision.
"Things I'm looking at are how close a program is to home, academics and their graduation rate, and the coaching staff," said Lee. "Getting my degree is important and I want to stay kind of close to home and anywhere in the southeast I consider close. I'm originally from Florida, so driving back and forth from there isn't a big deal."
"I also want to play," said Lee. "I'm not really concerned about playing as a freshman, but want the opportunity to get on the field."
In the classroom Lee is a solid student and said he carries a 3.4 GPA and scored a 21 on the ACT and is already qualified. As to when he'll make his choice, Lee said he won't wait until the end.
"Right now I'm still in the process of learning and I'll probably take some visits, but I don't know where or when just yet," said Lee. "I'll narrow things down to a top three or top two and then decide before the season. That way I won't have to worry about it during the season and we can focus on winning another state title."
Stay tuned with USFNation.com as we keep you updated on Eric Lee's recruitment and the rest of the 2012 class.