USC WR Marqise Lee plays like Marvin Harrison, Jim Mora says

Matt Kartozian / USA TODAY Sports
USC WR Marqise Lee has made quite an impression on UCLA head coach Jim Mora.

The demeanor of USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is the exact opposite of what we saw from former Indianapolis Colts great Marvin Harrison during his career. Harrison was ever so stoic on the field. Lee is anything but shy about showing his passion.

Everything else about the two, UCLA head coach Jim Mora said Tuesday, is a spot-on match.

"I'm not talking about the personality, I'm talking about the ability," Mora said during the Pac-12 teleconference. "Marqise is a little bit bigger than Marvin, but smooth, athletic, fluid guys that have very sure hands, run excellent routes, can get in and out of their breaks."

Mora, a former NFL coach, had a front-row seat as Harrison was quietly dominating the NFL. Mora's father, Jim E. Mora, coached Harrison with the Colts from 1998-2001.

Because of that perspective, the younger Mora sees a spot-on match between Harrison and the 6-foot, 195-pound Lee. And while Harrison was known more as a sure-handed technician and Lee is regarded now as the dynamic game-breaker, Mora sees plenty of overlap.

"With Marvin, when he used to run that speed cut in there was never a change in momentum," Mora said. "(Lee) can run the entire route tree, can take you deep, can run a slant, can take a hitch and turn it into an 80-yard touchdown. That's why I think Marqise Lee is like Marvin Harrison. He is very polished for a junior in college."

Lee is expected to play against the Bruins, despite being less than 100 percent after being kicked in the shin in the win over Stanford. It is just the latest ailment Lee has dealt with this season, limiting him to 44 receptions for 604 yards and two touchdowns in just nine games. But that downturn won't keep Mora from declaring Lee the best receiver in the country.

Underclassmen tracker
NFL.com's College Football 24/7 is tracking reports of the intentions of college football underclassmen in anticipation for the 2014 NFL Draft. More ...

"You can tell that he is not 100 percent healthy, but that doesn't mean a lot when you are talking about Marqise Lee," Mora told the Daily News earlier Tuesday. "Last year I thought he was the best in the country and I have no reason to say he is not this year either. Maybe his production, his numbers aren't up, but that is just because of the amount that he has played.

"I haven't been shy for two years about talking about what a great player I think he is," Mora said later on the teleconference. "I've seen him in (Los Angeles) twice in the last year and he probably thinks I'm a stalker. I have a ton of respect for the kid, and he is a great kid.

"I love his personality. I love his flair. I love the way he plays the game."

In those first two traits, Lee and Harrison could not be more dissimilar. With the last, however, Mora sees Lee and Harrison as the same player.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.