VandyMania Interview: PK signee Daniel Lee

Placekicker signee Daniel Lee was a late addition to Vanderbilt's 20-man football recruiting class last February. Next Monday, Lee will take part in the nationally televised Max Emfinger All-Star Classic in Tampa, Fla. The 6-0, 183-pounder from Riverside, Mo. talked recently about his recruitment, his summer plans, and his off-season training and preparation.


Q: You were the final addition to Vanderbilt's signing class last February. Vanderbilt didn't into the picture for you until very late in the process. It got a little crazy, didn't it? You got a call late in the week and came in that Friday for a visit, right?

Daniel Lee: That's right. I got home from school about 4 o'clock on a Friday, and Coach Johnson called me. They flew me in about 9 o'clock that night for my official visit. I had a great visit, and it was pretty exciting. Then I flew back on Sunday when it was all over. It was a pretty good visit, and that was more or less what got me [to Vanderbilt].

Q: It took about a week or so after that to get all the paperwork ironed out. You weren't announced as a signee until about a week later.

Daniel Lee: Yeah, I sat through a signing day ceremony and sort of faked my signing on Feb. 4 (laugh). It took about a week or a little longer to get all my papers through Admissions. They sent the letter to me about a week after Feb. 4, and I got them signed and sent back. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for those papers to get in! But I was happy when they finally did.

Q: Tell us about the Max Emfinger All-Star game, and any other camps or anything else you have coming up this summer.

Daniel Lee: The Max Emfinger All-Star Classic is on Memorial Day in Tampa, Fla. He elected me an All-American as a kicker, which I think he picked seven kickers in the nation, and I was one. I will get to go down there with a buddy, Brett Gallimore, who signed with Michigan, and goes to my school. We're going down there to play for a weekend.

I probably won't be doing many camps. I've got a buddy out in St. Louis that I train with who kicks in Arena Football. So I'll probably just go out there and work out with him. I might work a couple of camps, though-- the Ray Pelphrey and the Louis Aguillar camps-- just to work at it and get some money. But I probably won't go to any other camps besides those two.

Q: Who is your trainer?

Daniel Lee: His name is Clay Rush. He's a kicker who's been with three NFL teams. Right now he's in the Arena Football League with the Indiana Firebirds. He's been two-time kicker of the year. He's a pretty good kicker, and he's pretty much what got me to the level I'm at now. He's helped me all along the way. He's almost like my brother. I've known him for about five years now. I call him after my game, and we talk about the game. He's been to four or five of my games. So he's someone I look to, not only in football, but in other things in life.

Q: All Vanderbilt fans are wondering, can you kick it without the tee? How's that been progressing?

Daniel Lee: I've been working on that since last year, without the tee. I've played a lot of soccer, so it has come with ease. I'm not 100 percent where I was when I was using a tee, but I'm practicing hard, and I'll do my best to get where I need to be. It's going to take some more work, but everything does.

Q: How comfortable would you feel without the tee from, say, 40 yards out?

Daniel Lee: Well, not really where I need to be. But I can make it from where I do need to be right now, so I've got a lot more practicing to do. Hopefully I'll be ready.


Ed. note: Lee plans to enroll at Vanderbilt in August, where he will compete with redshirt sophomore Patrick Johnson and walk-on Nathan True-Daniels for kickoff and placekicking duties. Lee also specialized in pooch-punting in high school, and may compete for a position as a situational punter. Top Stories