IOWA CITY — Watching an Orion football game the past few years, it didn't take long to notice Logan Lee.
At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Lee towered over plenty of his opponents, and his physicality led to a wealth of accolades.
Now a freshman at Iowa, another quality of Lee's is making an impression.
"He's extremely studious. The kid is detailed, and I notice in the meeting room when I'm talking, his head's down, writing notes," Iowa defensive line coach Kelvin Bell said. "The beauty of that is, when you get him on the field, the things you talk about in the meeting are actually showing up. He's just that type of kid to take the coaching from the meeting onto the field.
"He's doing a really good job. I'm excited about Logan."
Lee has been on campus since June for summer classes and offseason workouts. Now, even with just a handful of fall practices under his belt, the former Orion standout — currently listed at 251 pounds — is making strides.
"He's growing every day," Bell said. "We talk about constant improvement and improvement in increments. You're not going to see a big jump from Day 1 to Day 2, but from Day 1 to Day 7, you can clearly see that this kid is one who is picking things up. It's partly because he's a good athlete, but his approach in meetings is really helping him on the field."
Although he was recruited as a tight end, the Hawkeyes told Lee this spring they were moving him to defensive end. Though he is still listed as a defensive end/tight end, Lee lined up at defensive tackle during Iowa's Kids Day on Saturday, a scrimmage that included Lee recording a tackle for loss.
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It didn't matter what side of the ball Lee lined up on at Orion, but he was certainly a force on defense. He holds the school record with 35 career sacks — second-most in Illinois history — despite missing the final five weeks of his senior season with an injury.
"He's a great kid, first of all," senior Brady Reiff said. "He's curious, he wants to learn and I think he's going to be a good player. I think he's learned at a faster pace than most kids when they come in. It's his first camp, and he's learning quicker than most kids; learning quicker than I did, anyways."
Five years ago, Reiff was in a similar situation. He played all over the football field at Parkston High School in South Dakota, including, like Lee, tight end and defensive end.
Once Reiff joined the Hawkeyes, it was strictly defense.
"It's a whole different level from high school to college. You just try and come out here and get better every day," Reiff said. "When you come out here and you're playing against guys that are a couple years older than you and you get ran into the dirt, that will open your eyes a little bit."
Reiff actually is roommates with Lee and sees plenty that makes him think the freshman has a chance to make an impact.
"I think he likes the defensive side of the ball and I enjoyed the defensive side of the ball a little bit more than offense," Reiff said. "I think that's where his mentality is, too. Wherever he ends up, I don't think he's going to have a problem."
It's not out of the realm of possibility that Lee sees the field this year, especially with last year's rule change that allows players to play up to four games while still maintaining the ability to redshirt.
It's all about continued growth.
"Once he figures out and the game starts to slow down for him, I think he's going to be pretty good," Bell said. "If he continues to improve on the track he is right now, I'm not going to say it's out of the realm this year, but definitely his future's bright for us."