Elijah Lee is quite familiar with the connections between his alma mater of Kansas State and the Minnesota Vikings.
Drafted in the seventh round on Saturday with the 232nd overall pick, Lee is preparing to join another former Wildcats linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and former Kansas State cornerback Terence Newman on the Vikings roster.
Lee also was familiar with former Wildcats and Vikings linebacker turned analyst Ben Leber.
“I’m just proud to be a Viking,” Lee said Saturday after his selection. “That was one of my favorite teams and one of my top priorities, too, because they showed so much love and also because there’s K-State alums up there. … It’s always nice to go into a situation where you know people instead of just random people.”
Here are five things to know about Lee:
1. Decorated prep career
Lee earned the Buck Buchanan Memorial Award, which is awarded to the best lineman or linebacker in the top two high school classifications in the Kansas City metro area, two times. He also was named the Missouri Football Coaches’ Association’s Class 6 Defensive Player of the Year. In his final two prep seasons, Lee totaled 156 tackles, 69.5 for loss and 30.5 sacks.
2. Made the switch
Lee was able to stay close to home at Kansas State, but he did need to learn a new role and roam new territory as an outside linebacker. He appeared in all 13 games as a reserve during his freshman season, recording a sack on his first college snap, and started all 26 games in his final two years on campus. Lee totaled 209 tackles (153 solo), 11 sacks, five interceptions, five pass breakups, 18.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Lee earned All-Big 12 selections in two seasons.
3. In the books
In only three seasons, Lee wrote his name in the Kansas State record books. His five interceptions are the most by a Wildcat linebacker under Head Coach Bill Snyder, who has coached 25 seasons. Lee also ranks fourth in Kansas State’s bowl history with 20 career tackles in bowl games, and his 72 solo tackles in 2016 are tied for the ninth-most in a season in school history.
4. Tackles aplenty
Lee recorded double-digit tackles in seven of the 26 games he started, including a career-best 14 (12 solo) against West Virginia in 2016. He also posted a sack and nabbed an interception in that game to garner Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
View images of KSU LB Elijah Lee.
5. Late decision
Lee, who has four siblings, decided late in the process to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. Because of the timing, he was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. The Vikings, however, were able to see him up close when linebackers coach Adam Zimmer visited Kansas State’s Pro Day and opted to have him participate in the team’s “Top 30” official visits before the draft.
Lee wrote a letter to Kansas State that he posted on Twitter: