Former BSHS standout fixture on special teams for Missouri State squad
Former Bonner Springs football standout Anthony “L.T.” Lee knows all about how difficult waiting for an opportunity can be.
“It has been really difficult to sit back and wait for my turn,” said Lee who has just finished his second season at Missouri State, where he is a redshirt freshman. “I want to play every down, but it’s not like high school. You are playing with a lot of guys that are just as good, and even better than you are. Everybody was a superstar at their high school.”
Lee appeared in 10 games for the Bears (6-5) mainly on special teams, but he says he was excited to get on the field this year.
“It was fun,” said Lee. “The year went well, and I was really happy to be out there and contributing.”
Lee did get some action at safety in the third game of the season against Murray State, a 35-10 victory for the Bears in a pouring rainstorm. Starting free safety Derrick Miller injured his back, and Lee was forced to step in and play. On the first play the Racers attempted a screen pass to the running back and Lee sniffed it out. While the pass was in the air, Lee bolted full-speed toward the receiver. As the receiver caught the ball and turned up field, Lee arrived and delivered a big hit dislodging the ball. The Racers fell on the loose ball and kept possession, but Lee made his first play in college football a big one. It would be ruled a tackle and a forced fumble and his name was announced on the public address system.
“It went by just like that,” Lee said. “I just remember getting up completely soaked and I didn’t even realize that I had caused a fumble. My teammates came up to me yelling and screaming. It got everybody really jacked up.”
Lee recalled that he and his father discussed the play after the game and referred to the tackle as “first blood.” They hope that Lee will get more opportunities next season, but certainly two years from now when Lee is a junior and Miller has graduated.
Miller has taken Lee under his wing, Lee said, and tried to teach him everything he can; after all, in football a team is only as good as its backups.
“(Miller) has taught me to be patient and calm on the field,” said Lee. “He is the leader of the defensive backs, he knows what to expect and has really helped me out a lot.”
From what Lee says, he needs all the help he can take in to prepare for the advanced offensive systems that the Bears see every week. There are different formations and nuances that the defenders have to prepare for.
“There are so many challenges, especially from the safety position,” said Lee. “You have to tell the cornerbacks what to do and worry about your assignment, and the receivers are really fast and hard to cover, but it’s really good competition.”
Lee, who is majoring in business administration, took a big step forward this year off the field in the classroom. After early struggles his freshman year, he prepared for school work even harder this year and the results are showing up. His favorite class in the fall semester was political science.
“I took government in high school, but here they are able to focus more on the big issues and how things work,” said Lee. “I learned a lot about the economy and how the U.S. government works, and it really made me pay more attention to what was going on in the outside world.”
Lee’s head coach is former Kansas University coach Terry Allen. Lee says Allen is a player’s coach and meets with each player every year to try and help out as much as possible. He pushes the team to prepare hard in the offseason to get better and stays positive all the way through. Allen is trying to build the program from the ground up, and Lee is noticing that the preparation that goes into each week is building.
“We watch so much film,” Lee said. “We are watching film all the time — of our opponents, our team and our practices. We have to learn everything.”
Next season Lee will look to get on the field more in special teams and at safety to get some experience for his junior year, when he hopes his time comes.
“All I can do know is get better and get bigger, and I will get my time,” Lee said.