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KU football MVP Countdown: No. 8, Mike Lee

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Team Jayhawk running back Ryan Schadler (33) is hit after the catch by Team KU safety Mike Lee (11) during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

Team Jayhawk running back Ryan Schadler (33) is hit after the catch by Team KU safety Mike Lee (11) during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Not all safeties play alike. Some blend brains and speed. Think: Ed Reed and Darrell Stuckey.

Others live to tee off on the man holding the football. Think: Rod Harrison and Mike Lee.

A junior who graduated high school a year early to get a jump start on his Kansas football career, Lee truly enjoys delivering punishing blows. That’s a good thing. He sometimes goes too far out of his way to search the next victims of his bruising tackles. That's not always so good.

The coaching staff appreciates the way Lee’s hard hits can shake opponents, but forever want to see more discipline out of him. If it doesn’t come by now, it’s not likely to develop.

Lee’s best game in a Kansas uniform came in KU’s best game in years in 2016, late in his freshman season. Lee intercepted a pass in overtime to give Kansas the ball for its game-winning possession vs. Texas. Earlier, he had forced a D’Onta Foreman fumble, setting up KU’s game-tying field goal.

He plays with athleticism and a fearlessness, making him a fan favorite. More consistency and soundness is needed, but even if that is slow in coming there is a value to having an enforcer no Big 12 offensive player looks forward to facing. He’s one of KU’s most exciting players and has a lot Cajun charisma as well.

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