June 11, 2008 · Updated 5:44 PM
Rory Lee knows how to carry a football. He knows how to carry high expectations and the bulk of the offensive workload. He knows how to carry on through tough times.
But most importantly, the University of Puget Sounds feature back knows to carry himself.
Lee, a junior on the verge of setting a new single-season rushing mark for the Loggers, graduated from Klahowya in 2003, where he lead the Eagles to a 7-2 finish on the gridiron, tying their best mark. Now, needing 113 yards in the seasons final game to top Daryl Wrights 1995 mark of 1,232 yards, Lee is poised to become one of the top backs in Logger history.
And while Lee said he knew hed have a shot at the mark before the season began, he attributed more of that success to an offensive line that has helped Lee to 1,120 yards on the ground this season.
I know if we had a pretty good season, Id be pretty close to it, Lee said. I knew it with the blockers I have.
But thats not to say that Lee, one of the 2003 Central Kitsap Reporter Student-Athletes of the Year, doesnt do a lot to help his own cause.
His tenacity, strength and determination shown brightly on Saturday, Oct. 29 in UPS 38-7 victory over Colorado College.
Playing with a fracture in his wrist that he earned the week before against Linfield, Lee simply ran for 242 yards, 29 yards shy of the single-game rushing record.
I only got one shot in the first quarter that really got to me, Lee said of the win over Colorado College. Its only if I bend it down or extend it back and forth.
But life is also intense off the field, where Lee is majoring in natural science with a focus in biology.
The school is pretty intense, Lee said. Life is pretty much consumed by school and football.
Both of those have been big areas of adjustment for Lee. Where Lee used to expect to be bigger and faster than most of his competitors, he realizes hes now on more level ground. In the classroom its a similar story.
But just as he did as an Eagle, Lee continues to excel in both, something he attributes to his days and a three-sport student-athlete at Klahowya.
Its a really great school, Lee said of UPS. Its a rigorous, rigorous academic schedule. They push you in every way.
Football-wise, its been a pretty good adjustment, he said. Being a big shot at Klahowya and then coming here, everyone is big. I remember coming in and, I wasnt the smallest guy, but of all the starters, just the proportion of guys was so much bigger.
In high school, I played three sports. That consumed all my time. So that definitely helped me coming into college.
The adjustment didnt come easily however.
It was pretty frustrating at first, Lee said. In high school, I could make everyone miss once or twice. In college, everyone on the teams is a pretty good athlete. Everyone is a little bigger, a little faster.
But Lee was not to be outdone.
Former Eagle coach Brad Hamblet said Lees work ethic was always strong.
One, Rory is a good athlete, Hamblet said. But see, hes not an athlete just set on his abilities. He works tremendously to improve his abilities.
A rigorous offseason of weight lifting has helped assure himself, as well as