Jon Lewis is the 26th winner of the award, which was established in memory of Tommy Nickolich, a Fairmont, W. Va., native who was a walk-on at WVU before passing away from cancer prior to his junior season in 1983. Established in 1991, the winner is selected by the coaching staff and presented by the Blue and Gold News to the walk-on who has distinguished himself through his attitude and work ethic.
Lewis has followed a somewhat atypical starting path for a walk-on at the major college level. After earning All-State honors at University High School in 2012, Lewis redshirted in 2013, but by the next year was on the field in a supporting role for the Mountaineers. He appeared in eight games in that season, mostly as a protector on special teams, but did record three tackles against Towson while participating in 56 snaps overall. Armed with the knowledge that he could play at the Division I level, he saw action in six games as a reserve on the defensive line in 2015, finishing with five tackles while getting his first taste of action from scrimmage against Big 12 foes.
Heading into this season, it figured that Lewis would be in contention for even more playing time on the defensive line, but an emphasis on more distinct (and perhaps more heavily involved) roles for fullbacks and tight ends in the WVU offense led to a position switch. Still wearing his familiar #92, Lewis is now working on the edge of the offensive line, and could be a strong blocker for this year's attack. During spring drills, he has also shown very good athleticism, and has caught a couple of passes in opn practice sessions while also demonstrating speed, agility and aggressiveness in kick coverage drills.
The son of former WVU basketball letterman Junius Lewis, Jon is a redshirt junior with two seasons of eligibility remaining. He joins the list of walk-ons honored by the Blue & Gold News over the past quarter-century.
TOMMY NICKOLICH AWARD WINNERS