Earlier this week I had the oppurtunity to talk to Eagles fifth round draft pick, running back Dion Lewis. I asked him a few questions and learned a lot about what we have in store with this our second Pitt running back on this roster.
Not during his two dominant seasons while at Pittsburgh. Not even while he was in high school or junior high. Dion Lewis knew when he was only eleven years old that he could make a career on the football field.
“I found [football] so much more fun than the other sports I played as a kid,” says Dion. Lewis has always gone out and played his game, no matter what he may have been told about his small, 5’7” frame. He started at a young age and has always had great success.
When Dion Lewis arrived at Pitt in 2009, he immediately stepped in to fill big shoes. LeSean McCoy was a focal point in the Pittsburgh offense for years before at running back and had been drafted by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. When Lewis came in he wasted no time. In Lewis’ first two collegiate games he amassed 319 yards, including a 190 yard performance against Buffalo in his second game. While averaging 7.25 yards per carry, Lewis took it the distance 4 times. Dion’s learning curve between high school and college football was virtually nonexistent. Dion’s dominance continued throughout his rookie year and he finished the season with almost 1,800 yards, 17 touchdowns and an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. Lewis’ final game of the year possibly sealed the deal for his Rookie of the Year honors. Carrying the ball 47 times against Cincinnati didn’t tire Lewis at all. After carrying the team, Lewis’ 194 yards and 3 touchdowns couldn’t quite win the game and help share the Big East Championship for the Panthers who lost 45-44 to the Bearcats.
After the 2009 season, Lewis was awarded the Big East Offensive Player and Rookie of the Year honors, Freshman All-America honors, National Freshman of the Year honors and made the Second-team All-America. Lewis’ trophy case was full after only one year in college. He was all but done making his mark.
In 2010, defenses knew to gameplan around Dion Lewis. This still didn’t stop him from accumulating over 1,000 and 13 touchdowns. In 2010, as in 2009, Dion’s best game came in the final regular season game of the year. In 2010, as in 2009, it was against the Cincinnati Bearcats. This time, Lewis wouldn’t let his outstanding efforts go to waste. He carried the ball over 40 times again (42) and tallied all 4 of the teams’ scores. On their way to a 28-10 victory and a share of the Big East Championship, Lewis accumulated 261 of the teams’ 272 rushing yards.
After rushing for almost 3,000 yards in only two years at Pitt, Lewis decided to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft. As with most players who decide to come out of college early, Dion wasn’t expected to go very high in the draft.
“Draft day was a long, crazy day,” said Lewis about waiting to hear his name called. That time would finally come on day three. With the 18th pick in the fifth round the Eagles called Dion’s name and his wait was over. Lewis was going to join the back that he took over for in Pitt, LeSean McCoy. Shady reached out to Dion shortly after he was drafted to welcome him to the team.
The Eagles fifth round pick is eager to come in and compete with the rest of the running backs for a roster spot. Also, Marty Morhinweg, the offensive coordinator, and Ted Williams, the running backs coach, have only had the chance to talk to Dion once. Even so, Dion says that both are “great guys and I can’t wait to work with them.” As soon as this exhausting lockout is ended, Dion will have the opportunity to work with LeSean, Marty, and Ted.
When Lewis comes in, he will try to perfect a game that he compares to that of Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I’m a back with great vision and quickness who likes to run inside. Eagles’ fans can expect a player who is going to play hard and make plays,” says Dion on his style of play. So, you heard it Eagles fans, we’re in for another playmaker on our offense. This running back has a touch of confidence but is also humbled by something as simple as a phone call.
Dion Lewis, the man who was honored after his freshman year with so many awards called the draft day phone call “the best feeling of my life thus far.”
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