By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Today's Q & A Session is with former LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee. He played for the Tigers under Head Coach Les Miles from 2007-2011.
After being redshirted in 2007. Lee would find himself as the team starter in 2008 after Ryan Perrilloux who was projected to start ended up being dismissed from the team for breaking team rules, then Andrew Hatch would go down with an injury in the third game of the season. He would go 4-4 as the starter (Three of those losses came against teams that were ranked #1 at some point during the season). Against Troy, Lee led the largest comeback in LSU history taking an LSU team that trailed 31 to 3 in the 3rd quarter and would score 37 unanswered points to win 40-31. A high ankle sprain ended his season against Ole Miss. For the season, Lee threw an NCAA leading seven interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. However, he put together one of the most prolific seasons for a freshman quarterback in LSU history, throwing for 1,873 yards and 14 touchdowns, only second behind true freshman Tommy Hodson for yards and touchdowns.
For the next two season's (2009-2010) Lee found himself in a backup role behind Jordan
Jefferson. However, in 2010 when called upon, Lee played well stepping in to lead LSU to game winning drives against Tennessee and Florida. Against Alabama, he would hit Rueben Randle with a 47-yard pass on a key third down late in the game to help seal the victory for LSU. After the conclusion of his junior season, Lee had appeared in 30 career games, and he had passed for 2,643 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In 2011, Lee would again become the starting quarterback after an off the field incident right before the season lead to Jordan Jefferson being suspended from the team with legal problems. Lee lead the Tigers to a 8-0 start and the nations #1 ranking. Poor play in Tuscaloosa led to Lee being replaced by Jordan Jefferson, who was reinstated back to the team after legal problems were resolved. Coach Miles chose to stick with Jefferson for the remainder of the season, even though the offenses' performance began to noticeably slip and start to sputter without Lee under center. The season would end with a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the National Championship game. Lee was never given an opportunity to step onto the field to try and spark a LSU comeback.
Jarrett would finish his career connecting on 317 of 565 passes for 3.949 yards, with 32 touchdown passes, and a 14-4 record as a starter.
Q - What is your favorite TV Show?
Lee - Yellowstone with Kevin Costner. I really enjoy watching it.
Q - What is your favorite Food?
Lee - Mexican Food
Q - Who is your favorite Pro Athlete?
Lee - I'm a big golfer so I would have to say Tiger Woods. I really appreciate what he has done and what he has overcome. I really enjoy watching him play.
Q - What Sports Team do you like to follow?
Lee - I love the Cowboys. I grew up watching the Cowboys with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. Enjoyed all the Super Bowls in the '90s. The Cowboys are my favorite...
Q - What is your favorite Movie of all-time?
Lee - I would have to say Forrest Gump. From watching it from when I was young to watching it now, there is so much history in the movie that you really don't see until your older and Tom Hanks just did such a great job.
Q - Who is your favorite Actor?
Lee - I'm going to have to go with Mel Gibson. He has played in so many good
movies. Braveheart, The Patriot, the Lethal Weapon series..
Q - Who is your favorite Music Artist/Band?
Lee - AC/DC... My parents grew up during the classic rock era and that's what I listened too. AC/DC is what I would listen to during pregame to get me pumped up and I continue to enjoy listening to them.
Q - So you were born in San Angelo, Texas?
Lee - My dad was a high school football coach so we bounced around to a bunch of small towns in West Texas. Actually my high school career for my freshman and sophomore year I was in Brownwood, Texas. My dad was coaching at a D3 school in Brownwood called Howard Payne. He wanted to get back into coaching high school so he ended up getting a job in Brenham, Texas. So I finished out my junior and senior year in Brenham. So that's basically my story.
Q - Did you play multiple sports in high school?
Lee - I did. My freshman and sophomore year I ran track, played, football, and basketball. Then after I moved to Brenham, I played football, basketball, and golf.
Q - Are there any personal and/or team accomplishments you would like to tell us about? I see that you still hold just about every major passing record at Brenham High...
Lee - I moved to Brenham my junior year. Came in and the coaching staff was tremendous. Brenham just consistently had good athletes and I came in with a really good class. My junior year we had a really good senior class and we were able to throw the ball around, when previously they were kind of a run first team. We put up some big numbers in the passing game. At the time in 2005 it was a big year for us. We never won State. We lost that season right before State to a really good team out of South Texas, Corpus Christi Calallen. Then my senior year once again we had a really good team and lost in the third round of the playoffs to Texas City. I never got to State. Never won State. But statistically had some good years and played with some really good players. We had so many D1 players come out of Brenham. Really good town. A really good tradition. The coaching staff was incredible and my dad was able to coach me during my junior and senior seasons so that was really special. A really good program and a place I'm really proud of.
Q - Could you tell us about your recruiting process? How was that experience?
Lee - My senior year I was being recruited by several schools. I origionally wanted to go to
Texas Tech. They were throwing the ball around a lot and doing a lot of good things, and that's what I wanted to do. Go somewhere and put up big numbers in the air. I also have a lot of families that went to Tech. I have an uncle who played running back at Texas Tech way back and was a real good player for them. so I had some ties there.
But for whatever reason Larry Porter, who was recruiting me and Jimbo Fisher, I just fell in love with all that they were offering and everything that they were saying. Then taking a visit to LSU and meeting Coach Miles. Getting to meet some of the players, like Matt Flynn. Seeing the facilities. Meeting Coach Moffitt and see what they were doing. Meeting Jack Marucci and see what they were doing. I just fell in love with it. I couldn't pass it up. So I committed to LSU and loved and appreciated everything that they were doing at the time. They were just coming off of the Sugar Bowl victory over Notre Dame. JaMarcus Russell just had a really good season. I just fell in love with the place.
Q - So can you tell us a little about your visit to LSU and what made you choose them?
Lee - During the Spring of my senior year Coach Fisher left for Florida State and they brought in Gary Crowton. Once again I just fell in love with Coach Crowton and everything that he was about. He had a lot of success at Oregon, La Tech, and everywhere that he had been. I just meshed with him real well.
Taking my visit to Baton Rouge, which isn't the largest city, but it's small enough that it felt like home. It just felt special. At the time I don't think the stadium was as big as it is now, but it just felt incredible. It was everything I wanted, between the players, the facilities, and everything that it was about, I just fell in love with. I just had to take advantage of what they had to offer.
Q - Can you tell us a little about Les Miles?
Lee - One thing that I always appreciated about Coach Miles was that he cared. You could definitely tell that he cared about his players and everything that was going on. We really appreciated that. He recruited, he was honest, he was upfront, he cared about us.
Growing up in a coaching family, my dad was a coach and I had uncles that coached. I know that being a head coach at that level isn't easy. You have to make tough decisions and do things that people always don't agree with. Let me tell you this about Coach Miles, he always put the team first. Whatever it took to make sure that his players were first, or that we got the victory, or that we were doing things right, he was always putting that first.
Q - So you arrive at LSU in 2007 and end up being redshirted during a season that the team wins the National Championship. That must have been like, "Wow!" You choose LSU and Bam! you're National Champions?
Lee - I tell you what, that felt really good. It was almost like "Wow, this is all it is?" With me redshirting I was part of the practice squad. I did a lot of those things. But it was really special. Getting to watch those seniors and the players that really contributed to that years National Championship was a lot of fun. Being able to get several rings from that season is really special.
Q - You go into your redshirt freshman season and end up becoming the starter after Andrew Hatch goes down with an injury. Tell us a little about that 2008 season.
Lee - That was a very interesting year obviously. With the Ryan Perrilloux situation in the spring and then with Andrew Hatch going down, I had no idea that I would be thrusted into the starting role and to have that kind of responsibility. It's the SEC so you need to come in mentally and physically ready. It was definitely a learning experience and something that helped me grow as a player and as a person. It was really a joy. I felt like I did some good things that year that I was able to build on. It was definitely a growing experience that year.
There are several great memories from that year. Auburn that year, we came back. I threw a couple of touchdowns late in the game for the win in Jordan-Hare. Then the next week against Mississippi State I came out and had a really solid game and we won big. The Troy game. It was great to come back against them. There were several memories from that year that were a lot of fun that I remember. Good memories.
Q - For the next two seasons Les Miles decided to go with Jordan Jefferson as the starter. But as the backup, when you had your opportunities to come in, you stepped up, played very well and helped the team out. Can you tell us about that backup situation that you had to go through during your sophomore and junior year?
Lee - Those couple of years it was back and forth with Jordan and Jordan started a lot of the games. One thing I always appreciated about Jordan was that he was always super helpful in everything that we did. We both brought different things to the table. He and I always tried to go out and do our best. We always tried our best to go out and win football games for LSU, the State of Louisiana. I have nothing but respect for Jordan. I just tried to come in whenever I was called on and did the best that I could to help us win football games.
2010, I really enjoyed that year. I had a comeback win against Florida. Threw a touchdown to Terrance Toliver with six seconds left in the game. I had a couple of big series against Tennessee, that was a crazy game. Then against Alabama at home I completed a big third down conversion pass to Rueben Randle to help seal that victory. During those two years I just tried the best that I could to help us win. That's how I was raised and how I went about it.
Q - Here comes the 2011 season with the horrible preseason incident that happened outside of that Baton Rouge night club with Jordan Jefferson and a bunch of your teammates. Jordan gets suspended after being arrested and again, it's your team. Your the starter. I think a lot of fans didn't know what to expect. But then from that first game in Dallas against Oregon, everyone could then see that this was going to be a special team. You guys just blew out so many highly ranked teams throughout the season. Do you want to go ahead and tell us a little about that season?
Lee - Going into 2011, totally unexpected for me to go into that first game as the starter but things happen. That Oregon game was a pretty special game for me because coming back to Texas, it was kind of like a home game for me. I had a lot family and a lot of friends there. So that made it really special. I just remember all summer how Coach Moffitt and the training staff talked about how fast Oregon was and the speed of the Oregon Ducks. We ran more that summer then I ever remember running. Once we got to that game we were so conditioned and so fast. Our defense in 2011 was something special. They had some big time players on it. Our two defensive ends ran 4.5, are you kidding me!? Not many team could say that they had players like that. Offensively I only threw for 98 yards, but who cares? As long as your productive and getting the ball into the end zone and our defense was playing hard. We ended up beating them 40-27 and that was really special.
There were some big games that year that I was really proud of. We beat some big time teams early in the season. Going to West Virginia and winning. Their place was pretty loud.
So we were rolling then you get into Conference play and we beat Florida 41-11. Beat Tennessee in Knoxville, 38-7. Then we got after Auburn pretty good winning 45-10. We were having a really good season. Our defense just had a bunch of studs and we were really stout. We had some great leadership on the offensive side of the ball with our O-line. We had a stable of running backs. Had wide receivers that were really talented. I didn't try to do anything special but distribute the ball to the playmakers and do what I had to do to manage the game. Special teams were solid. Then Jordan came back around the Kentucky game I believe.
We get to the Alabama game. That's where I kind of struggled. We were 8-0, #1 in the nation. With me struggling, Jordan was put in and played really well. We wouldn't have won the game if it wasn't for him coming in with his athletic ability and his feet. I think it was unexpected with me starting the game. Jordan just played really well and won the game for us. I threw a couple of interceptions against Bama and from there on out Jordan kinda became the guy again. So for the rest of that season if my name was called I would step in and do what I needed to do. It was still a special season and one I'll never forget.
Q - After the Alabama game you guys continued to roll, beating Western Kentucky, 42-9. Blasting Ole Miss in Oxford, 52-3, which was the game that Coach Miles had the offense take a knee on the Rebels' goal line so he wouldn't run up the score. Taking down Arkansas, 41-17. Then beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, 42-10. But the final game of that season has hurt and bothered all of us fans and I'm sure you players as well for a long time, was the rematch with Alabama in the National Championship Game.
It's obvious that Coach Miles believed that he could beat Alabama again running what he ran in Tuscaloosa earlier that season and for the entire month of Championship Game preparation all the offense did was practice the spread option for the game. No backup type of plan. Alabama had a guy over their by the name of Nick Saban. You can't beat him the same way twice. Can you talk a little about that situation and a little about the game?
Lee - It was a crazy circumstance. If Oklahoma State could have beat Iowa State, We
would have played them instead of a rematch with Bama. It was one of those crazy situations that we had to play them again and when you play someone like Nick Saban twice and they have several weeks to prepare for you, it was going to be challenging. We went into the game running a lot of the same stuff that we had beat them with earlier that season. It was just one of those deals. It's tough to beat a team that good twice. The outcome of the game showed that.
As a competitor I would have loved to have been given an opportunity. Whether I would have come in and won the game for us, whatever it may be, that is one of those things that I don't have an answer too. I don't know why I wasn't given an opportunity. Like I said earlier, It's not easy being a head coach at the D1 level. You got to make a lot of decisions that the fans don't agree with. Coach Miles made the decision that he did and I respected it. I never really asked for answers after the game. I never went to Coach Miles and asked him "why?" He felt like what he did was best to help our team win. The next day I was headed to Arizona to play in a Senior Bowl game. So I immediately began to focus on what was ahead for me. It's kind of one of those things where you look back and think, "What If"? ....
Q - Can you tell us about your NFL and CFL experience?
Lee - That was a lot of fun. I signed a free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers. An incredible city. It was beautiful, the weather was always great. I had a real good time out there being tutored under Phillip Rivers. It was a great opportunity. During preseason Phillip wasn't playing a lot, then the team backup Charlie Whitehurst hurt his ankle. So I went into the first two preseason games as the semi-starter. I played a lot, played a lot of series, and played well. I ended up getting cut after the final preseason game.
From there, in 2014 I signed a deal with the BC Lions in the CFL. That didn't last very long. I got cut by them and that was my extent of professional football. It was a great experience. I enjoyed every minute of it. I love the game of football. I love LSU and everything it's given me and I always love to talk about it.
Q - Do you keep in touch with a lot of your LSU teammates?
Lee - Yes I do. We spent a lot of time together through college. T-Bob, Will Blackwell, Josh Dworaczyk, Alex Russian, Matt Branch, Chase Clement, all those guys. We still keep in touch and reminisce on old memories.
Q - Want to tell us what your doing now?
Lee - I currently live in Austin, Texas. I work for a construction company here in Austin. We do a lot of residential and commercial steel stuff. I'm the project manager for the group here so it keeps me pretty busy. I love to golf. I play a lot. I'm close to family so I really enjoy that. Texas is home. I have a serious girlfriend and we have been dating for three years now. She played soccer at Texas Tech and is from San Angelo where I actually grew up, so we have a lot of ties there. I like to golf and fish too much to get married yet. I'm enjoying every minute. Life is good.
Q - Is there anything you would like to tell the LSU Fans?
Lee - Congratulations on an incredible season last year. Well deserved. All of the LSU fans and faithful deserve it. I really enjoyed every minute and all the memories I have of LSU and how I was treated. It is a very special place to me. It's a place I'll always cherish and always remember and GEAUX TIGERS!!!