If there is one thing I know for certain about the Utah class of 2013, it is that Andre Lewis is not afraid. From watching his game film and seeing the way he abused defensive backs for two seasons at Diablo Valley CC to following him on Twitter (@DreLewis15), it is clear that Andre Lewis is hungry for success.
"I am really confident in everything I do, that's just how I was raised. I'm going to do everything 100%, whether it is learning the playbook, running an out route, or blocking a DB on a running play going to the opposite side of the field. That's just who I am."
When talking to Andre Lewis, every question is answered with a certain swagger that just makes you believe this kid is on his way.
When I asked Andre about the transition from JUCO ball to the highest level of college football going against the likes of Oregon, Stanford, USC, and eventually Michigan and whether or not he expects a steep learning curve and any difficulty adjusting to the level of competition I could almost hear him licking his chops.
"All those teams you just named will have DB's that are going to play at a higher level than just about any JUCO DB in the country, and a lot of those guys are going to play in the NFL someday. I have been preparing my whole life for this. I respect those schools and those players, but by no means am I afraid of anyone. I couldn't care less about Oregon's ranking, fancy jerseys or anything like that. I have always done my best to play above the competition and I will continue to do that. The Utes belong in the Pac-12, there is a reason we were invited in to the conference, and we are going to prove our worth in 2013 and 2014. I am hungry and the guys I have been talking to up on campus are hungrier than ever after going 5-7."
Andre could practically recite the Utes successes and failures from 2012 and believes that despite the far tougher schedule in 2013, the Utes will be much improved. While there is concern among the Utah Utes fan base, Lewis has absolutely no doubts about the direction of his Utes. "Coach Whitt is a great coach and Utah is a great program. We will be winning bowl games and competing for the Pac-12 a lot sooner than people think. Last year early injuries preventing the Utes from clicking and we were never able to put together a complete game. This year we will start and finish. The culture is changing." Bold claims coming from a guy that hasn't even officially enrolled at the U yet. I asked him what he meant by the culture is changing.
"That chip on my shoulder, on our shoulder, is going to push us to new heights. I am ready to go to practice get beat up, get sore, and show up the next day and do it better than the day before. I know that my teammates are prepared to do the same thing. I plan on getting on to campus and mastering that playbook. I am going to push myself harder than I ever have, and I know by doing that it is going to make my teammates get better. There isn't going to be an adjustment period for me, I am coming out ready to play, ready to start, and I know that is the attitude of a lot of the guys that red-shirted last year and are coming in, which will make for a great culture. Everyone is going to push everyone to get better. The starters will be better, the backups will be better, and the scout team will be better, which is the type of thing that will make us a serious player in the Pac-12."
No football game has ever been won by words. No Pac-12 titles have been captured without suiting up first. And the Rose Bowl trophy has never been hoisted without some serious blood, sweat, and tears. But after talking to Andre Lewis you feel like you are ready for war.
One wide receiver isn't going to turn a 5-7 team into champions, or else Marqise Lee and the Trojans would have been playing Monday night and Calvin Johnson and the Lions would be on the war path to the Super Bowl, but Andre Lewis' attitude, work ethic, and skill-set is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for the Utes.
Talk is cheap, but Andre Lewis will have his chance to back it up soon enough.