Kevin Kinder \ BlueGoldNews.com

West Virginia's Jon Lewis Earns Tommy Nickolich Award

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. - With great pride, the Blue & Gold News announces that Jon Lewis is this year's winner of the Tommy Nickolich Award, presented to a walk-on of distinction in the West Virginia football program.

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

YEAR PLAYER POSITION
1991 Keith Taparausky RB
1992 Ray Wilcox LB
1993 Matt McCulty WR
1994 Randy Fulmore DB
1995 Rob Keys DB
1996 Matt Ceresa OL
1997 David Lightcap DB
1998 Mark Corman TE
1999 Bryan Lorenz TE
2000 Ben Collins DB
2001 Jeremy Knapp TE
2002 Moe Fofana FB
2003 John Pennington WR
2004 Jeff Noechel LB
2005 George Shehl DB
2006 Tim Lindsey LS
2007 Andy Emery LB
2008 Adam Hughes LS
2009 Josh Taylor DL
2010 Matt Lindamood FB
2011 Ryan Nehlen WR
2012 Tyler Anderson LB
2013 Connor Arlia WR
2014 Mike Calicchio OL
2015 Justin Arndt LB

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