Lasee: Hurtin' QB's, Openin' Eyes

In the winter of 2000, Graham Lasee enrolled at the University of Washington needing to pack on some pounds and improve his strength. A year and a half later, the 2000 graduate of Sehome High School has done all that Husky Head Coach Rick Neuheisel asked him, and is turning some heads with his play this spring.

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Having bulked up and improved his bench press from 230 pounds to 315 in a season's time, Lasee utilized his newfound strength and routinely found himself in the offensive backfield during Saturday's scrimmage. He finished with 1.5 sacks and three tackles overall.

Afterwards, he couldn't have been happier.

"It's been a while since I've had the opportunity," Lasee said after the scrimmage. "It's been a while since I've really been able to play, and I'm just trying to get in the mix."

The early impressions he's made so far are strong.

Currently, Lasee is playing defensive end on the second team behind junior Terry Johnson. He and Manase Hopoi are embroiled in a nice competition for the job. Johnson, who goes by the name "Tank" when amongst teammates, has been just one of many veterans who've helped Lasee grow into the promising talent that he is today.

"Tank (Johnson), Jerome (Stevens), Josh Miller, and Houdini Jackson help me out a lot," Lasee explained. "They help me with techniques and little things to try here and there."

Without Larry Tripplett and Marcus Roberson, who've both graduated, the defensive line is a very young and inexperienced unit. As a result, everyone on the line is fighting to stand out and make a positive impression on the coaching staff.

Lasee understands how that fierce competition can ultimately improve the unit. "We've got a pretty good group," he said. "We all get along and push each other pretty hard."

As a name that's been off the Husky radar for a while, Lasee feels great to be in a position where he can fight for playing time and maybe get some more attention. His 40-time is down to a 4.83, his tenacity rivals anyone else on the team, and his commitment to the purple and gold is 100 percent.

When watching Lasee on the hardwood back in his days as a Sehome Mariner, it was obvious that he had athletic ability in that he could run well and had nice touch around the basket, but he was so skinny it was difficult to project him going up against offensive linemen that would outweigh him by nearly 100 pounds.

Now that he's beefed up to 250, it's getting a lot easier. Last week in practice he and 6-6 312-pound Robin Meadow locked horns during a drill. Meadow tried to rag-doll Lasee but Graham didn't back down one inch and the two went toe to toe until cooler heads prevailed. Lasee had his helmet flung off of his head and deposited 10 yards down field but he remained unfazed.

On the very next drill Lasee shot through a gap and planted running back Chris Singleton for a four-yard loss with a blistering hit that echoed through the Dempsey Indoor practice facility.
He's definitely getting the attention of Defensive Coordinator Tim Hundley. "He's really done a lot to improve himself. I mean, look at how much stronger he is. He really gets after it and is coming on," said Hundley.

Randy Hart, Lasee's defensive line coach, smiles when you bring up Graham. "That's a kid that likes to mix it up. He's a gamer."

After the spring game on April 27, he's already arranged a training regimen with assistant strength and conditioning coach Pete Kaligis for the upcoming months. They will meet one-on-one every morning and hit the weights hard as Lasee continues to try to get bigger and stronger by the summer.

Lasee admits his confidence is growing every day. He is still a little undersized but that will be addressed by the time with Kaligis. As an intense defensive end that can get to the quarterback with his speed, he's a name to remember.

And if you're going to have to remember his name, you better learn how to pronounce it:

Luh-Zay.

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