Combing Talent and Dedication: Kayin Lee from Cedar Grove High School

Hard work and dedication should be discussed and applauded. In the case of Kayin Lee, this elite cornerback prospect earned the right to be considered a true leader because of the efforts to improve himself and teammates.
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Through traveling across Florida, Georgia, and Alabama to the seven-on-seven events, combines, camps, spring practices and summer workouts, two prospects proved to this scout that their effort and dedication to their craft deserved direct recognition. The first player that will be brought to light would be Kayin Lee, a cornerback from Georgia. The second player that will be discussed, Gabe Dindy, will be highlighted within an article tomorrow.

Lee does need to be placed on a pedestal for recruiting purposes, as he earned offers from a national perspective already. He did deserve recognition, however, for how he carried himself at multiple events when it was grind time. Finite dedication to details mixed in with old fashioned hard work proved to be fantastic to see for Lee, as well as leading others during events and practices.

Kayin Lee

Kayin Lee, Cornerback, Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove - 2023

Kayin Lee, Cornerback, Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove

Vitals: 5’11”, 175-pounds

Position: Cornerback

High School: Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove

Class: 2023

Recruitment: Lee’s recruitment blew up over the course of the last couple of months, the last two weeks in particular. The last couple of weeks alone provided offers from Southern California, Oregon, Kentucky and Florida for the talented cornerback. Prior offers included Ohio State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Miami, Indiana, Pittsburgh, UCF, and Arkansas among others. Here’s Lee’s top 10:

Lee's Performance During Atlanta Under Armour

When watching him perform during the March Atlanta Under Armour event at Denmark High School just north of Atlanta, Lee was competing with an extremely talented group of defensive backs from across the Southern United States. Further, as a rising junior, he was not as well known as some of the other prospects in attendance. That changed quickly.

During warm up sprints, stretching, and each basic defensive back drill Lee went full blast through that event. There are many ways to scout a prospect, but one of them is just trying to understand their effort. That’s why scouting prospects during live events like Under Armour matters. One finds out the true essence of how that young man tends to his craft -- from stretching all the way through one-on-one competition -- to better understand his long-term potential.

Once the intricate defensive back drills began, Lee was precise with his footwork. Whether working on his hip turn, which is critical for a cornerback, or side pedal at a 45 degree angle, this young man performed at a high level repetition after repetition. He also competed and performed well during one-on-ones while only being 154-pounds at the event. Remember that weight…

Cedar Grove Practice

Fast forward to June, Lee changed his diet and increased his weight to 175-pounds. That’s 21 additional pounds added to his sleek frame. He’s now physically ready to play against some of the bigger wide receivers he will face, as well as be a bigger factor to defend against the run. That’s an additional sign that Lee is ready to take that next step and be considered among the nation’s elite.

During a scouting trip through Georgia one of the first stops was to Cedar Grove High School where Lee practiced with his teammates and showed even more dedication. He was locked in from the time stretching began, and he was actually using the drills taught to him before actual snaps were taken during defensive preparation. Many players, even top-notch prospects, fail to utilize what their coaches teach them. One particular play stood out above the rest, however.

Lee was presented with the golden opportunity. He sunk back in coverage and squeezed the wide receiver between himself and the free safety. The timing was fantastic as the football headed right for Lee. One problem. He dropped a sure-fire interception. It happens. He’s human like anyone else. The difference with Lee and many other players stems from what happened next.

Lee’s facial expression looked like he could burn through iron. After a few moments with his hands on his hips, seemingly steaming, he went to the ground to do 20 push ups. Thereafter, he was locked in again. That last part stood out.

Lee was left alone after missing the interception. It was as if his teammates already knew he would be good to go for the rest of practice, and he was. He performed admirably thereafter and was leading by example and directing teammates with instructions.

Leadership

The final few words of the prior paragraph say it all. A mere 16 years old, Lee understands that football is a team game and even his recruitment is at least somewhat predicated on how Cedar Grove performs as a team. He also knows that for Cedar Grove to win a state championship this season he needs to be involved with how he works and how his teammates work. 

He’s not a big yeller and screamer, he’s not going to go off on a teammate for making a mistake. Lee just performs at a high level, instructs here or there when needed, and allows his play to do the talking for him.

Along with 2022 prospect Christen Miller and a few other seniors that are a year older than him, he helps Cedar Grove with leadership and a commitment to the craft of football that’s not commonly seen at the high school level. Overall, that’s why this article was written.

Lee is lights-out as an athlete and certainly learning the nuances of cornerback play. No question he’s a ball player. It’s his burgeoning leadership skills and dedication to his craft that earned him a spot within this article, however.

Hats off to the young Mr. Lee. You are headed for big things on and off the gridiron young fella.

Tomorrow will be a closer look at Gabe Dindy, one of the top overall prospects from the class of 2022 and a true grinder when it comes to the time to perform.

For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to my YouTube Channel and Podcast

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