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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State Football All 105: RB Keyvone Lee Leading Younger Backs, Building on Last 2 Years

Photo by Penn State Athletic: Keyvone Lee had a solid debut at Indiana

All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. In this edition, we’ll be taking a look at redshirt sophomore running back Keyvone Lee.

Height: 6-feet

Weight: 234 pounds

Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida 

Before Penn State: Lee became a team captain and MVP in three of his four seasons at American Colgate Academy.

Lee— who also played basketball at American Colgate— made an impact on the gridiron as a freshman, rushing for 1,200 and 22 touchdowns. 

He followed that up with 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns the next season.

247Sports, Rivals and ESPN.com all rated Lee as a four-star recruit. He committed to Penn State Aug. 26, 2019.

 

2020: In a dark season that ended with Penn State posting a losing record for the first time since 2004, Lee emerged as a bright spot.

With Journey Brown having to medically retire from football and Noah Cain suffering a season-ending injury in Penn State’s first game, Penn State looked to Lee to step up, and he did.

Lee played in all nine of Penn State’s games during a pandemic-shortened season and finished the year with a team-leading 438 yards and four touchdowns, averaging nearly five yards per carry.

His coming-out party came in Week 6 at Michigan.

Lee rushed for 134 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown, helping Penn State break a five-game losing streak and get its first win of 2020.

2021: Although Lee put up respectable numbers in his second season— a team-leading 530 yards and another 4.9 yards per carry— he didn’t take a massive leap forward the way many Penn State fans hoped he would.

Lee spent much of the season splitting carries with Noah Cain and John Lovett and never broke 100 yards, and despite playing in four extra games, he only rushed for 92 more yards than he did the previous season.

Where he stands:

On the surface, it’s all there for Lee to break out and eclipse 1,000 yards this season.

He’s a year older. He has the same offensive coordinator for the second straight season for the first time in his career, and he’s running behind what should be an improved offensive line.

But a young man named Nick Singleton could get in Lee’s way.

As good as Lee could be, any running back who comes in as a five-star recruit and No. 1 high school player in the nation at his position from his class is a threat to become No. 1 on the depth chart, and Singleton is no exception.

Another true freshman, Kaytron Allen, is no slouch, either. Allen comes to Penn State as a four-star recruit from the famous IMG Academy.

Although they could be competing for playing time, the veteran Lee will try and help the two newcomers along while at the same time looking to improve his game from

Overall, Lee is optimistic coming into Year 3 at Penn State.

“This is my second year in (coordinator Mike Yurcich’s) offense,” Lee told Nittany Sports Now’s Brandon Walker at Penn State’s media day Saturday. “I know the playbook like the back of my hand, and I am ready for the season.”

A quote about Lee: 

Last November, Penn State running backs coach JaJuan Seider talked about some things Lee needed to do to improve his game.

“I’m trying to get him to get over that stage where your attention to details and everything you do have got to matter,” Seider said. “When you’re not in, the rep that you’re watching, you should be learning from it. … Just processing the game and understanding, and then just how to play off of your God-given ability is what I’m telling him. Be the enforcer. Because when he’s running behind his pads, it’s as good as it gets.”

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