Frosh Lewis Shaping Up For '05 Season

The crown jewel in Coach Terry Hoeppner's recruiting class is ready to prove he is just that. Linebacker Matt Lewis from Daytona Beach, Fla., was a steal for Hoeppner late in the recruiting season, and he has visions of living up to that promise now that he's in Bloomington.

The crown jewel in Coach Terry Hoeppner's recruiting class is ready to prove he is just that. Linebacker Matt Lewis from Daytona Beach, Fla., was a steal for Hoeppner late in the recruiting season, and he has visions of living up to that promise now that he's in Bloomington.

Lewis was an all-state selection in Florida his sophomore year of high school and was considered a top-25 player at his position nationally after finishing his senior year with 100 tackles and 13 sacks. Now he is out to prove he can do it at the college level.

"I'm working right now to get an understanding on the tempo of the game," said Lewis. "We all may have played football in high school but I'm yet to take a snap on the college level. I need to learn the speed and the thought process that I'm going to need to contribute. I want to get into college shape and do the things I'm used to doing on the football field up to Coach Hoeppner's expectations."

Lewis played linebacker, fullback, defensive end and defensive tackle in high school, but is projected as a linebacker on the college level. He is currently one of 13 linebackers on the Indiana roster, including three true freshmen. Instead of worrying about the competition, Lewis is taking it day-by-day and learning from the players ahead of him.

"I felt great out there on the field," said Lewis. "Early in camp a lot of this stuff is the same type of things we learned in high school, but you have to start with the basics. It gives me a chance to get down the speed of the game and see early on what it's like on the collegiate level.

"I'm always talking to the older linebackers to get their advice on everything. I'm making sure I get as many pointers as possible because those guys have been here a while and they know the ropes."

Lewis comes into the 2005 season after spending his summer lifting weights to increase his size and strength.

"During the summer I did a lot of weight lifting to make myself strong enough for college football," said Lewis. "I lifted weights like a horse. I did a little bit of running, but it wasn't good enough for the collegiate level, but everything will come along."

Lewis does feel his lack of running this summer has put him at a disadvantage, but he knows he can get himself back into shape quickly.

"I talked to Coach Hoeppner this week and he talked to me about the things I'm going to need to do before the season to be a contributor to this team," said Lewis. "I'm not going to lie, I feel like I'm a step behind in conditioning. But with the help of my teammates and the coaches, I can speed that up and get right back on track.

"It's not going to take long at all. The way I'm working and the way I'm going to continue to work it's not going to take long before I'm in shape and going full speed."

While he may have some running to take care of and a few pounds to shed, Lewis is just excited to be with the Hoosiers and ready to get to work.

"It feels great to finally be out here. I love being with my teammates, we already have great chemistry on the field. I met a lot of the older guys on my visit and now I'm really getting to know them and their styles of play on the field. It's been good, even with a new coaching staff and a lot of young guys I feel like everything is coming together real well."

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