Player Capsule: Jason Lewis
Position: Running Back
Eligibility: Redshirt Freshman
Weight: 235 pounds
2015 season quick review: A late qualifier last year, Lewis missed a lot of camp before being NCAA Clearinghouse certified and redshirted.
Running back coach John Simon's recent assessment: “You got to be the bully when you have the ball in your hands and if we can get him to be a bully on the inside zone and impose his will and impose his size, that will be beneficial for us. We don’t have that and it would be nice to have that guy when it’s tough that you can put a guy in there when you need two yards, just with size and group that he has the mindset he can go get it. He’s never seen himself as a 6-3, 245 downhill bully type back and that’s what we’re trying to change his mindset and if he can buy into that first, then we are ready to develop everything else around that. But first we have to have a nucleus of what is your identity.”
SunDevilSource.com analysis (05/2016): Just on the hoof, Lewis is physically one of the best looking players on the ASU roster. Standing side by side with Kalen Ballage, who is a very well put together running back at 225-plus pounds, it's remarkable how Lewis is clearly bigger. But the issue at this stage of Lewis's development is that he doesn't play to his size nearly enough. He's prone to reducing the his foot-speed in anticipation of contact in space when he should instead by accelerating through defenders who are similarly sized or often smaller. Numerous times during the spring Simon was heard calling out to Lewis on the field about this exact issue.
When Lewis does run as hard as he can, and work to keep his center of gravity low on his tall frame, he has the ability to make defenders bounce off of him. More importantly, he has the ability to put a sense of dread or even fear in the minds of smaller defensive players even at the college level, and that could lead to more big play opportunities. But that's not going to happen until he decides to make it so on a consistent basis. Lewis also is still early in his understanding of the position and Simon has the ability to help a lot in that regard. Reliability, and confidence from his coaches will lead to more chances and that has to start with having a tenacious disposition through the whistle.
Projected depth chart status: It's going to be difficult for Lewis to carve out a role due to the talented logjam at running back for the Sun Devils in 2016. He's probably not going to siphon reps away from a healthy Demario Richard or Kalen Ballage at this stage of his development, so the battle for Lewis will be to improve his overall capability and try to compete with classmate Nick Ralston for some opportunity behind the two starter-level players on the team.