USC starts Heisman campaign for Lee

LOS ANGELES -- USC has launched a Heisman Trophy campaign for Marqise Lee, releasing a video Wednesday championing the sophomore receiver's candidacy for college football's top trophy.

The two-minute video begins with a question: "Who is the best player in college football?" It attempts to answer it with Lee, citing his receiving and all-purpose statistics this season.

Lee leads the country in all-purpose yards and receptions and is second in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns. His coach, Lane Kiffin, said Wednesday that he believes Lee should be seriously considered for the award.

"I didn't have anything to do with the production of the video," Kiffin said. "But I think it would be hard to argue that he's not playing as well as anybody in America, the dynamic plays that he makes."

Only three wide receivers have won the Heisman in the award's 77-year history, the last one being Michigan receiver/returner Desmond Howard in 1991. The last 14 winners have all been quarterbacks or running backs.

Kiffin referenced that on Wednesday, saying Lee doesn't get as many touches as those players normally do.

The video, set to "Revolution 9" and "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles, also uses opposing coaches' comments of Lee, including Stanford's David Shaw, Oregon's Chip Kelly and UCLA's Jim Mora.

Kiffin said those were the most powerful parts of the video.

"As a head coach you're always gonna say good things about your stars, but when other people are making statements like that, I think that should be more powerful than a video being sent out or numbers being sent out," Kiffin said.

Over the last two weeks, Lee has accumulated 28 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns, including a Pac-12 record-setting 345-yard day against Arizona. Lee's 251 return yards against Oregon also set a conference record.

He has deflected all talk of his Heisman candidacy since before the 2012 season started, saying his focus was to get quarterback Matt Barkley the trophy.

But as USC has fallen down the rankings this season with three losses, Barkley's candidacy has also fallen off the map. Lee is now considered the top Heisman candidate for USC.

"If it happens, it happens," Lee told ESPNLosAngeles.com in August of the possibility of winning the award. "All I'm going to do is continue to play the way I play and try to improve and help the team win. That's all I'm focused on.

"I don't really worry about accolades."