Lewis Running Toward His Future

Drew Lewis has been running his whole life. From a young age he was always good at it. Even when he picked up a football and excelled on both sides of the field at Eastlake High School, Drew made it look easy by the way he ran - all the way toward a scholarship to the University of Washington.

"I've run track since I was in seventh grade and it's my last year to finish all those sports," Lewis told Dawgaman.com this week. "I thought it would be good to have one last shot. I'm pretty good at it. No regrets with that choice.

"I think track was the main reason I didn't do early enrollment into U-Dub. I could have gone after signing day, but track really stopped that. It's tough to balance the two. It's not impossible. Most of the other top recruits do the same thing. I have a busy schedule all the time, but it's been easy to regulate it all."

Lewis, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound linebacker prospect, isn't opposed to running in college. He'll be doing it anyway for the Dawgs when he's on the football field, so why not on the track? "I haven't talked to them (UW coaches) about it but if I had time and the opportunity I'd definitely give it a go. The coaches value speed there a whole lot, so that would be fun."

Friday was the preliminary heat for the state 4A 100 meter finals. Up to this point, Lewis hadn't broken 11 seconds in any meet this year, but he hoped that would change this weekend. "(The weather) is supposed to be nice, so hopefully I can get under 11 (seconds)," he said. "That's the goal. I have two more chances - in the prelims and the finals for each event - so I'll have two more opportunities. I'm feeling good, feeling like I'm at the peak of my athleticism."

Lewis did just that - running a 10.93 - but it wasn't good enough to qualify for the finals. His twin, Troy, did qualify, running a 10.69, over three-tenths slower than pace-setter Isaiah Brandt-Sims from Wenatchee. Drew will have a chance to better his 22.3 PR this season in the 200, and he'll also be running on Eastlake's 4x100 and 4x400 teams.

If the Lewis boys were feeling a bit devious, they'd switch numbers and have Drew run in the finals, but that's never been their style. "One thing I find interesting about us is that no one even knew I had a twin," Lewis said with a chuckle. "It catches everyone off guard and it's fun to see their reactions. We could mess with people if we wanted to, but we keep it straight."

Drew added that, while it would be great to have Troy join him at UW he has football plans of his own. They'll start out most likely in the California junior college ranks, however. "But who knows, maybe he can transfer up," Drew said, speculating on a potential Lewis brothers reunion in a couple of years.

Drew and Troy have an older brother, Ryan, who is currently a redshirt freshman defensive back Pittsburgh. He played in all of the Panthers' 2013 games, mostly on special teams. And their father Will, was in the Seattle Seahawks' front office for 12 years before moving on to Kansas City. Needless to say, there's a lot of football knowledge floating around the Lewis household.

"They were helping me a lot, especially during the recruiting process," Drew said of his family. "But now that it's died down, they are letting me kind of figure it all out myself. My brother, he's tough to get a hold of because he's doing his own thing at Pittsburgh.

"They've told me to go in with a positive mindset, be friendly, be respectful. I'm not worried about it. I get along with all the kids there."

Since signing, Lewis has been busy juggling responsibilities - mainly school and track, but also with one eye fixed toward the future. "I've been communicating with the coaches," he said. "They've been making sure I'm up to date on my grades, my school…a lot of weight lifting. They give you a huge packet of things to work on all different weightlifting exercises. Now I'm just getting into the LEAP stuff, the housing, everything like that, making sure I'm good to go when I get there July 5th."

What was Lewis' first impression upon combing through the UW strength and conditioning information? "I thought it was going to be a full-blown Division-1 workout kind of thing, but when I looked at it it was really all high reps, low weight - getting us ready to transition into actual football when we get there in July," he said. "I feel like it was more conditioning and getting your body up where it needs to be."

It just so happens that Lewis has already been doing a ton of conditioning through his track work. "That's one thing (the coaches) are happy with what I'm doing," he added. "They prefer their athletes to be doing this kind of stuff anyway."

Lewis has a roommate lined up at UW, but doesn't know who it is. "(Linebackers) Coach (Bob) Gregory couldn't remember the name," he said with a laugh. "I still don't know. I could probably shoot him a text and find out, but it's not a big deal to me. I'm sure it'll be fine either way."

Lewis was a defensive back for the Wolves, and it sounds like the Huskies haven't necessarily ruled that out as a possibility. "As of right now they are still looking at me as an outside linebacker, like Shaq Thompson's position," Drew said. "(Gregory) was talking to my Dad about long-term changes, potentially moving to a safety. I'm not sure if he meant a year or two after I went there or maybe fall camp. I'm sure they are definitely looking at one of those two; I don't think I'd go there as a receiver. I'm fine with linebacker or safety."

Of course Lewis has talked to Gregory about expectations for the fall. "He said that the number one thing they really look for is how you adapt to that environment, playing football at the next level," Lewis said. "Obviously everyone wants to go in and hopefully start their freshman year. I'm hoping the same, but realistically I have to see it either way; understand it if I can't but definitely working hard and competing to try and get a true freshman role."

Lewis got a bit of a future sneak peak when he attended a couple of Washington's spring practices. "I watched the linebacker drills and their every day drills," he said. "Not too many (linebackers) have a similar build from me, except for Travis Feeney. He has a similar build to me. They were saying they are low on linebackers right now, so the opportunity is almost presenting itself for me to hop in there and see if I can make some plays. I'm open to see how it goes. In the actual practice I'll be able to see what the competition is like hands-on."

Current UW linebacker Scott Lawyer was Lewis' official visit host. "He was the first guy I saw at one of the practices; he recognized me before I recognized him," Lewis said, laughing. "That was pretty cool being able to talk to him. During my official visit to U-Dub, we had all the linebackers - the recruited linebackers and the current linebackers - we all hung out at Shaq's house one of the nights. We talked football, where we were all from…it's a good group of people. They all like each other and helped influence us incoming freshmen. They are a good group to look up to."

Lewis said that he's already received the LEAP itinerary, so he knows exactly what's in front of him. "It doesn't seem overwhelming," he said. "Just four days a week of lifting, going to different halls to study the pre-requisite courses there. I'm going to be excited to be going to an actual university and studying for the first time, it'll be a real interesting thing. At the same time I'm open for whatever U-Dub holds; I know there's going to be a lot of stuff to do. I haven't even explored the whole campus. I'm sure I'll find things on the way."

Does Lewis have a major in mind? "I was looking at business and communication, and then I looked at it a little more and sports management was a big thing that popped up," he said. "Those are the big three topics I want to look at. I'm still undecided because I haven't done any real complex research. My brother (Ryan), he switched from business communications and maybe he'll have some insight as to what I should expect with classes and what I really want to do."

Running track this spring has given Lewis, ironically enough, a chance to slow down and get to know some of the other incoming frosh. "It's kind of interesting seeing a lot of recruits do track too," he said. "I've seen Budda, I've seen both the Richmonds (Max and Sam). Not only U-Dub recruits, but there are also some other recruits in the area, there's a bunch of different players. I've been able to talk to them. During the invites, they go all day so there's a lot of sitting and waiting involved. I've been able to talk to some people and get to know them - the Richmonds, especially. They were talking about how they are really excited to get to know me and my family during July.

"Everyone is anticipating the big move in. We'll be a good squad, a good family."

In the meantime, Lewis will finish up his Eastlake track career, and then head straight into Washington's strength and conditioning regimen. This means very little time off, and even less time to think about a vacation before the real work begins.

"As a family, Washington is the meet-up spot for us," Drew said. "We're probably not going to have a lot of time for vacations by the time school starts. So the more opportunities my Dad gets to come home, or my brother gets to come home and hang out with the family, you kind of cherish those instead of going out for vacation. As long as we can communicate face-to-face, we're fine with that.

"I think my Dad is coming home next week. I'll take that."

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