Lee Doss goes from walk-on to star at Southern

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Lee Doss (2) looks for an opening during the fourth quarter against Northwestern State on Sept. 7 in Natchitoches.
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Lee Doss (2) looks for an opening during the fourth quarter against Northwestern State on Sept. 7 in Natchitoches.

Lee Doss came to Southern University as a walk-on.

Three years later, he has the chance to leave as one of the most prolific pass catchers in program history.

Doss arrived in Baton Rouge in 2011 after transferring from Selma University.

“I was at a small school (Selma University) in Alabama, and (former Southern wide receivers) coach (Eric) Dooley and (former Southern wide receiver) Charles Hawkins got me here,” Doss said.

“It was planned for me to go there for my freshman (season) to get some more tape on what I could do,” Doss said. “Then for me to transfer to Southern after that.”

Football has always been a major part of the Doss family lineage.

His father was a high school standout and his brother, Lorenzo, a defensive back at Tulane.

“Football is in our blood lines from our father,” Doss said. “He was a great player in high school in Mississippi but unfortunately got injured.”

Doss, a product of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, has made quite the name for himself in his tenure on The Bluff.

Through two years and three games, Doss has amassed 120 receptions, 1,474 yards and 15 touchdowns.

When Doss arrived in Baton Rouge, he announced his presence with an immediate impact, dazzling players and coaches in spring practice.

“He came out of the spring our first year together at Southern and showed that he can play,” Southern cornerback Virgil Williams said.

Doss recalled taking advantage of the opportunity.

“I was on scout team when I first got to Southern in the spring,” Doss said. “Fall camp rolled around, and I started to make a couple of plays.

“I was behind Smoke (LaQuinton) Evans and Charles Hawkins and had to wait my turn. And so when they left, I knew it would be my time to shine.”

And shine Doss has, setting a career mark in receiving yards in Saturday’s Southwestern Athletic Conference game against Prairie View with 214 and three touchdowns — despite being suspended for the first quarter for violation of team policy.

“It hurt (being suspended), but at the same time, it was a lesson learned.” Doss said. “I just tried to put that behind me, take my punishment and keep going.”

“I knew I was letting my team down, and with (linebacker Anthony) Balancier out and Virgil going down, I knew I had to get out there and help my teammates.”

Coach Dawson Odums said Doss went about the process the correct way and showed why he is regarded as one of the top receivers in the SWAC.

“Lee really wanted to do well,” Odums said. “He made a mistake and accepted his punishment. The kind of game he had showed that he has big time talent.”

Doss said he attributes his progress as a wide receiver to Southern receivers coach Chris Coleman.

“He showed me a lot of things that made me a better player this year,” Doss said. “It’s not the big things, it’s the little things, like catching the ball, getting north and south upfield quickly, and going to block the safeties for the running backs.”

Williams, who regularly squares off against Doss in practice, described what makes him the caliber of player he is.

“He’s got a high motor,” Williams said. “He’s got a will to win no matter who’s covering him. I believe if you put Deion Sanders on him that Doss would feel like, ‘Just throw me the ball; he can’t cover me.’

“He believes that no matter who is in front of him, they can’t cover him. That’s what you need out of a wide receiver.”

Like the veteran receivers did before him, Doss also has taken the younger receivers under his wing, going the extra mile in helping bring them along.

“I’ve been with Charles Hawkins since high school, and he’s been more of a brother type mentor to me.” Doss said.

“Willie Quinn stays with me on the weekends when we don’t have anything going on,” Doss said. “He comes to my apartment to hang out.”

Williams recognized Doss taking the initiative, noting the resourcefulness he has.

“Doss is always looking to get better and is always willing to bring a younger player with him,” Williams said.

Doss is expecting a large contingent of family and friends Saturday as the Jaguars head to take on Mississippi Valley State.

“I have a lot of family on my father’s side from Itta Bena, Miss., so I’m going to have a lot of family in attendance on Saturday. And I’m excited about that.”