Anyone who’s played football can tell stories of the goosebumps on their skin and the butterflies in their stomach they felt before playing a game. Every player has different ways of getting themselves mentally prepared to go to war on the gridiron. At last Monday’s media availability, senior safety Mike Lee shared his pregame ritual.
Before stepping on the field, Lee said he has a playlist he listens to in order to get himself going. The playlist includes hits from famous rappers, such as Lil Baby and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, but it also includes another genre of music without any lyrics.
“It’s like some Florida bop music,” Lee said. “Nobody’s like singing in it — it’s just like making beats.”
On top of listening to his game day playlist, Lee also said he watches some of his own highlights in the locker room before running out.
“Really, it’s right before we’re about to go on the field,” Lee said. “Right before coin toss, I put it up on my phone, watch it and it really just gets me hype — like I already do on the field.”
Before games during his freshman year, Lee said he used to watch his high school highlights. But now, after an illustrious four-year career filled with highlight reel plays that include booming hits and ball-hawking interceptions, he now watches his best plays in a Kansas uniform.
After Kansas’ blowout loss to Baylor last Saturday, Lee’s college career came to an end. Above all the big plays, Lee said he wants to be remembered as more than just a great football player.
“A respectful guy that gave it all I can,” Lee said. “Just a fantastic guy on and off the field.”
Lee entered Kansas as the highest-rated freshman prospect in the Jayhawks’ 2016 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports.
Before this season, the Jayhawks made a head coaching change, firing David Beaty and bringing in Les Miles. Although Miles wasn’t the man who brought the 2016 group to Kansas, he said he still felt like they were “my senior class” and spoke highly of them.
“They’re a great group of people,” Miles said. “They are quality leaders and they made a difference. There’s no question. They changed the culture — it’s work hard and smile. You’ll earn it.”
The 2016 class Lee was a part of included 23 players, but in the four years since, numerous players left the program for a variety of reasons. In the end, Lee said the current group’s togetherness says a lot about its character.
“We’re strong,” Lee said. “We stuck together. No one could break us, and we’ll forever be Jayhawks.”