Dwyer 3-star EDGE Kerrington Lee prioritizes academics over athletics

Jon Santucci
Palm Beach Post

PALM BEACH GARDENS — In a lot of ways, Kerrington Lee is the prototypical edge rusher.

The Dwyer High School rising senior is 6-foot-5, 230 pounds with long arms and a great first step. Those traits are some of the primary reasons why 15 Power 5 programs have offered. That list includes Arkansas, Iowa State, Kentucky, Pitt, Utah and Virginia Tech.  

“He brings everything you need to the table,” Dwyer assistant coach Alex Malsbury said. “He’s the fastest guy off the ball on the team – that includes even the athletic positions, the skill guys. He’s faster than most of them off the ball, that five-yard sprint.

"He has a really strong upper body, he’s got really strong, long arms. He’s very violent with his hands. He’s probably one of the strongest guys on the team, too.”

Dwyer High School rising senior edge rusher Kerrington Lee during tackling drills in practice on Monday. Lee is No. 80 on the USA Today Florida Network pre-spring top 100.

Where Lee doesn’t exactly fit the mold is his approach to being recruited.

When Lee starts talking about the schools he’s visited unofficially — Duke, Florida, Maryland, Miami, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest — he highlights the ones known more their strength in the classroom rather than their traditional dominance on the field.

“They’re all great schools, but I really liked Wake, Duke and Vandy,” Lee said Monday, moments before the Panthers first spring practice. “Those are some great schools academically that fits into what I’m looking for.

“Honestly, academics is super important to me. I have a lot of high athletic scholarships, but some of those aren’t in my top five. Academics are super important to me and it kind of outweighs football sometimes.”

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The son of Dr. Joseph Lee an Instructional Superintendent for the School District of Palm Beach County, academic were always stressed in Kerrington Lee’s home.

“I take education seriously,” Lee said. “My dad’s a superintendent and my mom works for FPL. They take education super seriously. I know that my talents are going to show wherever I go. Being smarter and choosing a high academic school, leaving with a document that shows you got through one of the higher academic schools and also play at one of the top levels, it’s going to get you a dream job.”

Make no mistake, Lee is one of the top edge rushers in Florida this cycle. He is No. 80 on the USA Today Florida Network pre-spring top 100.

In his first full season at defensive end in 2021, Lee recorded 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2021. Prior to last fall, he primarily played offensive tackle. Dwyer coaches say Lee could step in on the offensive line right now and immediately be one of the team’s best.

But they know his future is pursuing the quarterback, not protecting him.

It’s the same reason thing colleges saw when they started coming through in January.

Lee had three Group of 5 offers before picking up an Indiana offer on Jan. 20. Over the next 36 days, 16 more schools offered.

“It was crazy,” Lee said. “It’s a surreal experience that you dream of. I knew my talent was going to get noticed because of how hard I work, but I didn’t think it would be that high of an achievement for me.”

Malsbury said one college coach watched the first play of Lee’s film and immediately offered a full athletic scholarship.

“It’s hard to describe him because he’s like the perfect kind of person,” Malssbury said of Lee. “High GPA. ‘Yes sir, no sir.’ Never a referral in his life. 6-5, 230 and it’s mainly muscle. He looks like a Greek god walking into a facility. He’s one of those people that when he walks into a facility, ‘That’s the guy.’

“One of my favorite kids that I’ve met since I’ve been coaching.”