Who is Vad Lee? Maulers’ new QB brings dual-threat ability to Pittsburgh & USFL

The Pittsburgh Maulers began the new USFL’s inaugural season 0-4. After that, the team decided to make a change at the quarterback position.

The Maulers decided to release Josh Love, who began the season as the team’s starter, and replaced him on the roster with Vad Lee.

Lee will join Kyle Lauletta on Pittsburgh’s quarterback depth chart and will try to help turn the team’s season around. He could quickly emerge as a playmaker for the Maulers’ offense given that he has dual-threat ability compared to Lauletta, who is more of a traditional pocket passer.

Here’s everything to know about Lee as he prepares to fill a vital role in the Pittsburgh offense.

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Who is Vad Lee?

Vad Lee is the newest quarterback for the Maulers. The team signed him following their Week 4 loss to the Generals, which dropped them to 0-4 in the USFL’s inaugural campaign.

Lee, 29, played college football from 2012 through 2015 at Georgia Tech and James Madison. He began his career at Georgia Tech and served as the team’s backup quarterback in 2012 and starter in 2013. He headlined the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense and totaled 1,057 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 278 carries during his two years with the team.

Lee eventually opted to transfer to James Madison and became a star at the FCS level. He won the Dudley Award — given to the best college football player in the state of Virginia — in each of his two seasons at the school and led the Dukes to the 2014 FCS playoffs after a 9-3 finish to the season.

During his second season at James Madison, Lee led the team to a 7-0 record before a broken foot ended his college playing career. He finished his Dukes career with 51 total passing touchdowns, which tied a program record, and became the first Division I player to pass and throw for 275 yards in a single game during his senior season.

After his college career, Lee spent the 2016 season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. He ran the ball once during his one season in the CFL.

Since then, he has bounced around to various spring start-up leagues, including the XFL, The Spring League and now, the USFL. He also is an author, life coach and motivational speaker, according to his website.

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Vad Lee college stats at Georgia Tech, James Madison

Lee posted solid rushing numbers at Georgia Tech, but didn’t do as much as a passer given the nature of the Yellow Jackets’ offense. He was given more freedom in James Madison’s offense, and that led to him posting massive rushing and passing totals during his career.

Below is a breakdown of Lee’s stats from year to year during his collegiate career.

Season Comp. % Pass yards Pass TDs INTs Rushes Rush yards Rush TDs
2012 48.2 596 4 3 96 544 9
2013 45.6 1,561 11 10 182 513 8
2014 60.6 3,462 30 7 183 826 9
2015 68.3 2,190 21 10 109 814 8

Given his impact during his two seasons at James Madison, it’s easy to see why then-coach Everett Withers spoke so highly of Lee.

“Looking beyond just his impressive stats, Vad Lee was a game changer,” Withers said after Lee’s college-career-ending foot injury in 2015, per James Madison’s student newspaper.

He’s not only one of the best players in JMU history, but one of the best people I have ever been associated with.

Why did the Maulers sign Vad Lee, waive Josh Love?

Neither the Maulers nor Kirby Wilson provided a reason as to why Pittsburgh signed Lee and released Love, but it is likely due to Lee’s dual-threat ability.

The Maulers have struggled to move the ball on offense so far during the 2022 USFL season. Despite being built as a run-heavy team under Wilson, who was a running backs coach for more than two decades in the NFL, they are averaging the third-fewest rushing yards per game in the USFL at 101.5 They have just 14 rushing first downs all year, good for dead last in the league.

Lee should help the Maulers by adding a bit of mobility to their backfield. Perhaps they can run a bit of the read-option with him or mix some designed quarterback runs. Having Lee will make Pittsburgh’s offense a bit less predictable, which should be the team’s goal after its slow start to the season.

As for the team’s decision to waive Love, that was part of a roster crunch. USFL teams only have 45 roster spots and 38 on game days. As such, keeping three quarterbacks is a lot, so it behooved them to release either Lauletta or Love.

That said, it is a bit strange that the team decided to cut Love given that he was statistically outperforming Lauletta.

Player Comp. % Pass yards Pass TDs INTs Rating
Kyle Lauletta 47.3 218 0 0 80.6
Josh Love 54.8 440 2 2 109.0

Either way, Love landed on his feet with the Michigan Panthers. He is currently backing up Shea Patterson while Paxton Lynch recovers from an injury.

Pittsburgh Maulers QB depth chart

  1. Kyle Lauletta
  2. Vad Lee

The Maulers have two quarterbacks on their roster now: Lauletta and Lee. Lauletta has been with the team since the 2022 USFL Draft, so it stands to reason that he will continue as the starter for now.

However, don’t be surprised to see Lee get some designed run packages and eventually take over for Lauletta if he continues to struggle with his accuracy.

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