Shaun Lewis: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Hightower High School head coach Shane Hallmark about Shaun Lewis, a four-star linebacker from Sugar Land, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Shane Hallmark: His overall quickness. The quickness and the speed that he plays at. He has an unbelievable football IQ and understands what he's doing. He's a super athlete. He's the complete deal.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Shane Hallmark: Well, obviously the size of the offensive linemen. He's been able to run around and out-athlete offensive linemen on the high school level, but on the Division I level they're bigger, stronger, faster, better athletes. He's going to have to put on more weight to help him combat those things but he'll be fine. He'll get bigger and he'll adjust to the game just fine.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Shane Hallmark: Oh, he's made so many. I guess the state championship game a year ago (as a junior) when he had 16 tackles and three sacks. That was probably the greatest individual defensive performance I've ever seen. He's that type of kid. He just made play after play.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Shane Hallmark: Humble. Aggressive. Intelligent.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Shane Hallmark: I really don't know. I think that was a decision he made with his parents. They do a great job of recruiting the Houston area, and there are a lot of players who have gone there for this area. Of course those players talk to each other, and I'm sure there's a lot of word of mouth from former players from OSU and current (Cowboy) players. Of course the facilities there are unbelievable. Shaun is mature enough to understand, and he wanted to be in a system that was a lot like ours in high school. Coach (Bill) Young's defense is very similar to the one that he ran here. I think all those things were factors.

What type of impact to you expect him to have on the OSU football program?
Shane Hallmark: I think right off the bat they're going to notice that he's a little different as far as the speed that he plays at. To say that he's going to be a starter right away, that would be very bold to say. But I think he's going to compete, and I think he's going to make some guys step up. Maybe some of those upperclassmen are going to have to step up when they see the way he practices, the way he plays, and his approach to the game, which I think will make the team better as a whole. I definitely think he can contribute on special teams and things like that right away.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Shane Hallmark: I think Shaun can accomplish anything he wants. It would not surprise me one bit if he's a high NFL draft choice by the time he gets through with his years there. That would not surprise me at all. As well as receiving Big 12 accolades. He's just that type of kid. The most important thing about Shaun is that he's just a good person. I know a lot of coaches will say that about recruits but he is legitimately a fine young man from a fine family. He's not going to do anything to embarrass that university. He's a fine Christian young man. I think a lot of schools in Texas are going to wish they had pursued him a little harder when things are said and done.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Shane Hallmark: He's by far the best player I've ever coached. He taught us as a staff a lot about humility and respecting the game. On days when we don't want to be out there, and that's just human nature there are days when you don't want to go to work, and he helped us as mature men fight through some things and understand that any time you're out there playing football it's a great day. That's the way he approached the game, and that's what I'll probably always remember.

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