Veteran Irish defender expects to assist at cornerback in '99 . . . two-time monogram-winner based mainly on kicking game work . . . projected to work with Shane Walton in support of returning regular Deveron Harper at left corner . . . versatile defensive back who has played both corner and safety . . . has been major special-team performer and Irish coaches hope he can become factor in secondary as well in '99 . . . showed well early in rookie camp of '96 until preseason injury ended that season.
AS A JUNIOR: Played in first seven games and final four in '98, making 125 regular-season special team appearances, then 13 more in Gator Bowl vs. Georgia Tech . . . ranked sixth on team in overall special team appearances, working with kickoff, kickoff return and punt return units . . . saw action as defensive back in first five games in '98, including lengthy stints vs. Stanford (four tackles) and Arizona State (three tackles) . . . missed Boston College game with ankle sprain.
AS A SOPHOMORE: Earned a monogram after playing in all 13 games in '97 with Irish special teams, including vs. LSU in '97 Independence Bowl . . . did not see time in defensive backfield but made 85 regular-season special team appearances . . . missed entire rookie season after torn knee ligaments in preseason required surgery.
AS A FRESHMAN: Tore anterior cruciate knee ligament in '96 preseason drills and had Sept. 6 surgery . . . ended up missing entire '96 campaign.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Illinois all-state selection as senior in '95 . . . earned three letters in football as tailback, wide receiver, cornerback and safety at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, Ill. . . . rated eighth best prospect on Best in the Midwest team by Detroit Free Press . . . named to Super 25 all-area team by Chicago Sun-Times . . . carried 270 times for 1,819 yards and 28 TDs in '95 . . .caught 13 passes for 213 yards and one TD . . . set school records for TDs in a game (five), season (28) and career (58) . . . captain of team as senior . . . won Tony Lawless Award as top player in Chicago Catholic League and was three-time Catholic League all-star . . . rushed for 1,680 yards and 24 TDs as junior in '94 . . . three-time all-conference pick and two-time Kankakee Daily Journal all-area selection . . . chosen for Illinois Coaches Association Shrine all-star game . . . earned four letters in track as sprinter and one in basketball as sophomore guard . . . born 1-18-78 . . . older of two children . . . full name is Lee Sylvester Lafayette . . . enrolled in College of Business Administration with major in managament information systems.
G-GS Time Solo Asst. Tot. 1997 12-0 - 7 2 9 1998 10-0 20:10 6 3 9 TOTAL 22-0 20:10 13 5 18
The Lee Lafayette File
- The Irish offensive player who will surprise people this year is Tony Fisher
- The sports teams I followed when I was younger were Michigan and DePaul
- A word to describe me on the field is Tough
- Other than Notre Dame Stadium, my favorite college stadium in which to play football is Michigan Stadium
- The area I would like to improve as a football player is Man-to-man coverage
- If I could play another position on the other side of the ball it would be Tailback
- The most stimulating class I ever took at Notre Dame was Philosophy
- If I could compete against any Notre Dame athlete (non-football), it would be Marshaun West (men's track & field)
- The person who has helped me the most since I've been at Notre Dame is Bobbie Howard
- The top three teams in college football this year will be Notre Dame, Notre Dame and Notre Dame