Shadow Creek's Lewis a 'technician' on the field
When he played youth football, Shadow Creek senior DeJuan Lewis, then a self-proclaimed "short, chubby" child, played the offensive line, defensive line, and tight end. In middle school, he was an outside linebacker and receiver.
But it wasn't until he got to Shadow Creek, where he started as a receiver on the freshman team as he grew into his body and was introduced to the weight room, that Lewis found his true calling on the field.
"I know you play baseball," the varsity defensive backs coach told the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Lewis one day midway through the season. "I know your hips are pretty good. Come try DB."
Lewis was reluctant at first. He preferred catching passes, not preventing them. But he eventually made the move.
In his first game at defensive back in the sixth game of the season, Lewis had a pick-6. Four weeks later, he was pulled up to varsity for the playoffs.
Lewis hasn't looked back since.
"A DB is a technician," Lewis said. "You're very diligent about everything you do. I like watching film. I like studying. I like being a student of the game."
The three-year varsity letterman's journey has culminated in a standout senior campaign for the 9-2 Sharks, who play C.E. King in the Class 6A-Division II area playoffs Friday.
"I have a natural effort and passion for this game," Lewis said. "I'm about those things you can't coach."
Lewis totaled 76 tackles during the regular season, averaging 6.9 per game, to go with four caused fumbles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Also a star outfielder for the Sharks' baseball team, he has innate instincts and physical gifts when it comes to pursuing the ball, be it the foot or base variety.
"Baseball and football correlate so well, because outfielders and DBs basically do the same thing," Lewis said. "They open up to the ball, use their hips, go track the ball, go get the ball. It's the same mentality."
Lewis would like to play both baseball and football in college. But, like most of his peers in the Class of 2022, the recruiting process has been arduous because of COVID-19 and the emergence of the transfer portal.
Lewis is doing what he can to help his cause. He went to six camps this summer, hitting up Baylor, Texas A&M, SMU, Houston, TCU, and Texas State, and promotes his film and stats on social media.
"Putting anything and everything I can out there," he said. "Just trying to keep my name out there. I've got a good story. I'm blessed to be in the position I'm at today."
Shadow Creek senior defensive back DeJuan Lewis.Bradley Collier | VYPE Media
Some college will be fortunate to snatch up a personable young man with an obvious love for the game. Until then, Lewis will continue spending countless hours watching film, perfecting his craft and brightening his future.
Lewis spoke more with VYPE.
VYPE: Why do you think you're so passionate about football?
LEWIS: My dad (Deon) taught me a lot about this game. He's passed down everything he learned from his past and high school experience to me, and I just want to make him proud. I don't want my family to have any doubt in their mind that their kid is going to make it.
VYPE: What's the difference for you on the field this year compared to last year?
LEWIS: It's a lot of things. I watch film 10 times more than I did my junior year. My IQ for the game has been growing. (Knowing) Teams' tendencies and how players think. In my head, while I'm watching film, I take those things into the game, whether it's how I line up or coverages. At first, I was just playing out there. But watching film, getting more reps, how I prepare, how I practice … all those things have made such a big difference.
VYPE: As a program, what do you think y'all took away from your first year in 6A competition last year?
LEWIS: All the games we lost last year was because of us. A dropped pass against North Shore that goes for a pick-6 for them. If it's caught, it's a different game. It was us most of the time. We'd make simple mistakes and teams would capitalize on it. This year, we're not making those simple mistakes, and when teams we play make those mistakes, we're capitalizing on them.
VYPE: In what ways do you think this year's team is better than last year's team?
LEWIS: For sure, we're more of a team and more of a family. We had a lot of diversity on the team. We had a lot of arguments last year, a lot of miscommunication. This year, it's more about we're going to get it done for the team, for us, for each other. There's no bumping heads or arguing. It's a big reason we clinched our district championship.
VYPE: What is something maybe misunderstood or something people don't realize or know about you?
LEWIS: After seeing me play, a lot of people think I'm a hothead or that I can't control myself. I'm really a cool person. I laugh a lot. I crack jokes. I'm goofy. But there's just something about football that brings out that passion in me. It clicks in my head, like, it's go time.