Why? Well, because they grew up together in Detroit, played in the same little league (Detroit PAL), competing against each other in high school, even playing on the same 7v7 travel team, so, yeah, Lewis knows King’s game all too well.
And it just so happened that they both became All-American's as juniors in 2015.
Lewis would set Michigan’s single season record with 20 pass break ups, finishing as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award, given annually to the nations top defensive back. King’s season was just a little better, he would finish second in the nation with eight interceptions, and would go on to win the Jim Thorpe award, solidifying his stature as the nations top DB.
Both, ironically, chose to stay in school for their senior seasons. Which sets up a big year for both to prove they can do it again.
And yet, right now, Lewis says King deserves the be called “the best defensive back in the Big Ten" due to last year’s success.
“I know (Desmond) personally, we grew up together. He’s always been that type of playmaker. So for him I can personally say that he is, he is what he was last year – he is the best defensive back in the Big Ten,” Lewis said of King at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago on Monday.
“Because as you saw he was a ball hawk,” Lewis continued. “You couldn’t throw it his way. It was evident. It was no debate about it. He was the best last year. He’s trying to claim that this year -- as many of us are”
Lewis, who had two interceptions of his own in 2015, including interception return for a touchdown, admits he hasn’t really watched any other cornerbacks in the Big Ten besides King, and really just focuses on beating his opponent -- the other teams top wide receiver -- for the week.
“As a competitor you always do (want to be the best),” Lewis said. “You don’t compare yourself to nobody else. Honestly just me my roots, I always want to be better than my competition, and that’s the receivers. And that’s just preparing myself to be the best at what I do, that’s what I want, because basically competing with my teammates and myself, and that’s what I do every single day try to get better.”
Michigan opens its season with Hawaii on Sept. 3.