Oct. 27, 2007
By Holly Laubacher
There's another R. Lewis you might not have heard so much about. Robert Lewis, a fifth-year senior tight end has put in his fair share of hard work for the Huskies. And though he might not be as recognized as Roy Lewis, his R. Lewis counterpart, he has certainly made an impact on his Husky team.
Lewis, like the other fifth-year seniors around him, has been on a roller coaster ride with the football program since the moment he arrived at Washington. He has endured three different head coaching changes, three new position coaches, and a whole lot of public speculation about the Washington program.
In addition, Lewis was asked to switch positions in 2004. Recruited from high school as a linebacker, he was moved to the tight end position. For him, the move was originally not embraced with open arms. But now, Lewis sees the position switch as much more palatable.
"I'm happy about the change," explains Lewis. "The tight end position fits my body type a lot better."
Lewis has made the position change worthwhile. He made a career high four receptions against USC in 2005, played in 29 of 34 games during his first three years of eligibility and can officially call himself a leader of the team.
Lewis is accustomed to wearing many different hats on the football field though. Before joining the Washington program five years ago, Lewis had experience at the defensive end, linebacker and tight end at Monclair College Prep. The Southern California native won praises for his high school play, when he was named as an All-Olympic League pick and selected to the Tacoma News Tribune's "Western 100" Team.
Moving to Washington from Southern California was a change for the L.A. native, but the transition, he says, wasn't that bad besides the weather. But, for Lewis, being in the big city atmosphere outweighs the perils of Mother Nature.
"Seattle is a big city like Los Angeles," says Lewis. "I'm definitely a city boy."
Lewis also pins his decision to come to Washington on the fact that he felt like he needed to leave California and the University of Washington was happy to have him. Lewis redshirted his first year on the Husky squad immediately after high school, but was thrown right into the mix the next season. In fact, he made his first career reception against the eventual 2004 National Champion USC Trojans.
Maybe even more impressive than his stats on the field, however, are his stats off the field and in the classroom. A Spanish major, Lewis has been named an honorable mention member to the Pac-10 All-Academic team all three of his eligible seasons.
The fact that he is a Spanish major, however, is only a precursor to what he has planned for life after undergraduate studies. Lewis is making plans to go to medical school.
"You can go to medical school with any major, really. I stuck with Spanish because I didn't want to lose the language that I've been learning since junior high."
And though he doesn't have any foreseeable plan for use of his Spanish major, there is no doubt that it will help him later in life.
Medical school is a huge undertaking, as Lewis is well aware. If his future doesn't involve playing in the National Football League like he hopes it does, medical school will still be on the top of his list of priorities.
Lewis says, "My plan is to go to the NFL and make enough money to pay for medical school. If that doesn't work out then I'm just going to find another way to get there."
For now, though, Lewis's future plans are focused on the Husky football team and the rest of his senior season.
"My desire to be great is strongest this year because I don't know what will happen to my football career in the future. The fact that this year is my senior year is exciting enough in itself."
Lewis does acknowledge one big change this year as opposed to previous football seasons.
"One of the biggest differences this year is attitude. I feel like the whole team has a better attitude about playing this year than in past years. It seems like we've had to face every top-10 team in the country this season. Luckily, the good attitude and the desire to win are definitely there."
He attributes the Huskies' good attitude to not only his senior teammates but also the freshman class, which he characterizes as a great group of guys.
Optimism is key for Lewis, the fifth-year senior who has seen it all. If Lewis can make it through three coaching changes and a major position change, medical school should be an absolute breeze.