"I didn't want to play fullback. Then I was moved to tight end, and that's more blocking. I don't mind blocking, but I never had time to grow in the position," Lewis said. "Now I've actually had time to learn defensive end. The coaches kept feeling like I could help here or there, but I never had time to really learn one position like this other than running back, and since we already had good running backs that was out of the question."
Now Brooks and defensive line coach Rick Petri think Lewis can become a pass-rushing defensive end and playmaker.
"There was a time I was really discouraged and thinking about a lot of different things. The team really helped me stay here and stay focused," he said. "My numbers were good in the weight room. Teammates saw me run the ball and they knew I could catch the ball. I fit in. They just told me to hang in there and I would find something. Fortunately, I have."
So what can he do for the team this year? "I hope I can come in and get a bunch of sacks, especially against our crosstown rival Louisville. I think the team is pretty confident in my ability to rush the passer. We have a lot of other good guys that help. We should have a great rush of the passer and I want to be a big part of that," Lewis said.
Beating Louisville Sept. 3 would be especially meaningful for Lewis, a Hardin County native. He didn't grow up a Louisville fan, but his father was a Louisville fan and wanted him to play for the Cardinals. "But they didn't start recruiting me until late. I went to Louisville and the last quote I heard from them was, ‘Whatever you do, don't go blue.' And then that's what I did. "A win over Louisville would be tremendous. We've not done that since I've been here. There are about a million Louisville fans back home telling me I should have gone to Louisville , especially when I go to my high school football games. I hear about it a lot and want to prove this year that we have a good team, too."