Pursuing QBs and criminals

Published 7:53 pm Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kee: Lakeland alum Justin Kee is a rising sophomore at Winston-Salem State. Kee is a defensive lineman for the Rams on the gridiron and an All-CIAA Scholar-Athlete honoree in the classroom where he’s a Justice Studies major.

Former Cavalier working on gridiron and DEA career

At 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, Justin Kee is built to enforce justice on a football field.

In his freshman year at Winston-Salem State, Kee did some of that, and he’ll likely do much more of it through the next three falls. More importantly, he’s already working toward the same mission in the classroom.

Kee, a 2009 Lakeland graduate, earned an All-CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Scholar-Athlete award for the 2010-11 school year as he’s maintained a 3.0-plus GPA throughout the year.

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Kee, a defensive lineman for the Rams, is a Justice Studies major with the goal of becoming a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent.

“That’s exactly what I’m aiming for. I like learning about the justice system a lot and I’ve started looking at the things I want to do if I go to work for the DEA,” Kee said.

Keeping his GPA strong all year long means Kee did so through his first semester at WSSU and his first season playing college football.

“It was really important to me to accomplish this goal,” Kee said.

“There are lots of times where I’m going straight from practice to the library and then studying for three or four hours,” he said. “It’s about having the discipline to make myself do it.”

“It’s different from high school to college because I wasn’t always an A student in high school. Now I realize my grades in college, getting a degree, now these are things I need to do,” he said.

Kee spent the 2009-10 school year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham. Back during his Cavalier days, Kee was a two-way lineman as well as a basketball player, at that point at a shade under 300 pounds.

Playing on the defensive side of the ball for the Rams, Kee’s playing time steadily increased through his freshman season.

“In high school, I was used to being the biggest guy. Back in August, starting out in college, now I’m just a normal-sized guy. I’ve had to really learn how to play and learn how to be more physical,” Kee said.

“It was great experience,” Kee said about getting on the field for live action as a freshman. “The competition is really good. People sometimes think, ‘Oh, it’s Division II,’ but there are a lot of good players and you definitely have to compete every play, every game if you want to win.”

Kee’s first season as a Ram even included an interception and 7-yard return in a 49-3 WSSU win over Johnson C. Smith.

WSSU went 8-2 and narrowly missed out on the CIAA championship game and an NCAA Div. II playoff berth. Those two hurdles are pushing the Rams through spring practice.

The importance and intensity of spring practice is one more adjustment to football at the next level.

“It’s just like a regular practice. The coaches treat it like we have a game on Saturday,” Kee said. “Plus, spring is usually when competitions for spots are decided.”

At the same time, Kee described the spring practice period as “fun” and as more experience toward individual and team goals.

Bringing down quarterbacks and criminals typically are not related fields, but steadily working toward important goals is a common link. After only a year at Winston-Salem, Kee is moving quickly on both paths.