Marqise Lee: USC Heisman Hopeful May Play Cornerback

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Wide receiver Marqise Lee #9 of the USC Trojans carries the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

University of Southern California WR Marqise Lee may have the opportunity to even further strengthen his bid for the Heisman Trophy by playing both ways for the Trojans.

A report by Fox Sports West's Rahshaun Haylock indicates that Lee pleaded to head coach Lane Kiffin to play defense—presumably cornerback—after the team's victory over Utah last month. It appears Kiffin has given into Lee's demands in light of his comments on Thursday:

I think we're always trying to find different ways to use Marqise. Hopefully (with) the speed of this game not being like the last two...there may be some that may present itself Saturday.

Kiffin is of course referring to the easier test the Trojans face in Arizona State after the two high-powered offenses of Arizona and Oregon that shredded USC's defense.

Haylock also mentioned that Kiffin had thought about playing Lee on D more seriously in recent weeks, but didn't want to bring it to the super sophomore's attention to distract him from the dynamic ability he brings to the USC offense.

Lee was a bit of a surprise as such a successful wideout, considering he was highly recruited as a free safety out of Garden's Serra High School. His playmaking ability has translated nicely to the kick return game, too, as he's averaging over 29 yards per kick return.

Senior QB and potential No. 1 overall pick Matt Barkley has definitely benefited from Lee's emergence, as he's leaned on him even more than last year's leading receiver Robert Woods.

After a scintillating freshman year, Lee has been even better in 2012 with a team-leading 88 catches for 1286 yards and 12 touchdown grabs.

Considering the Trojans have let up 39 and 62 points in back-to-back losses, plugging Lee into the secondary couldn't possibly hurt—and it definitely wouldn't hurt his Heisman hopes.