Kayin Lee has the potential to join some rare (and elite) company at Auburn early
Not many corners have played big roles as true freshmen in the past decade. But a new 'pit bull' has a great chance to do that in 2023.
DB Kayin Lee (Austin Perryman/Auburn Athletics)
Kayin Lee has got that dog in him.
Or something like that.
It didn’t take long for Keionte Scott to see something in Lee, a true freshman cornerback who enrolled early as a key part of Auburn’s late push in the 2023 recruiting class under a new staff.
Scott had only gone through one practice with Lee, but he quickly noticed a special attribute in the Atlanta area product.
“I would describe him as feisty,” Scott said early last month. “If I could use one word, just… feisty. Like a pit bull, kinda.”
Coming out of Cedar Grove High School — which was ranked as one of the best in the state of Georgia and just outside of the top 50 nationally last year by MaxPreps — Lee developed a reputation for playing bigger than his listed size of 5-foot-11 and 184 pounds.
His 247Sports scouting profile lists a 10/10 rating in tackling and a 9/10 in physicality. During his junior season, Lee grabbed plenty of attention with this jarring hit on a wide receiver.
Cedar Grove would go on to win the Class AAA state title in that 2021 season, with Lee picking off two passes in the championship game. The Saints nearly repeated in 2022, falling just short of a fifth championship in seven years after a controversial last-minute touchdown call.
That kind of production for a standout program in Georgia high school football put Lee on a lot of major college teams’ radars. He was a composite top-150 recruit in the class of 2023 and a consensus top-20 cornerback nationally. Lee had 30 scholarship offers, originally committing to powerhouse Ohio State in the summer before his senior season.
After the hire of Hugh Freeze, Auburn quickly became a contender for Lee, threatening to flip him from Ohio State. That came to fruition on a busy Early Signing Day that also included a flip from Florida State edge rusher Keldric Faulk.
“Kayin Lee, what a big-time get there,” Freeze said on Signing Day. “What a football player he is, flipping him from Ohio State and out of Georgia. … Just an incredible job by Zac (Etheridge) holding us in that one and getting us to the finish line, along with (Wesley) McGriff and everyone else.”
Like Faulk and offensive lineman Connor Lew, Lee was a late recruiting class victory who enrolled early and has a great chance to play right away as a true freshman.
Freeze mentioned him alongside Faulk and Lew after the A-Day Game, and he said earlier in the spring he was “going to be a heck of a player” who “has just continued to catch our eye and flash.”
If Lee can stay on that track, he will join a very select few who have been an immediate help for Auburn at outside cornerback over the past decade.