Eastlake’s Lewis has big-time football plans at UW
July 15, 2013
By Neil Pierson
Drew Lewis is the kind of football player most NCAA Division I schools covet. The Eastlake High School senior is fast, so many opponents won’t catch him in the open field, but he’s also big enough – 6-foot-2, 190 pounds – to run over tacklers in a crowd.
Lewis is part of a family full of talented athletes. His father, Will, had a brief stint playing with the Seattle Seahawks in the early 1980s. His older brother, Ryan, led Eastlake to the Class 4A state quarterfinals in 2011, and now plays at the University of Pittsburgh. His twin brother, Troy, also has some gifts, winning a medal in the 200-meter dash at May’s state track meet and solidifying a spot as an outside linebacker for the Wolves.
Drew Lewis is making his own mark on the family tree. He recently gave an oral commitment to play at the University of Washington, spurning offers from seven other schools, including Pittsburgh.
Playing many of his college games in Seattle will be nice for Lewis, but it isn’t why he chose UW.
“My No. 1 goal was to play football at a school that I really wanted to play at,” he said. “I’ve known these coaches for so long because I’ve been going to camps at UW since I was in seventh grade. The coaches have changed, but the atmosphere has stayed the same.”
Don Bartel, Eastlake’s first-year head coach, raves about Lewis’ abilities.
“Drew is incredibly talented,” Bartel said. “He’s got a great skill set in terms of strength, speed and size. He definitely impresses.”
Bartel, who was the defensive coordinator at Skyline High last season, will also serve in that position at Eastlake. He’s brought in Kyle Snell, a longtime friend, as offensive coordinator, and they’re aiming for Lewis to be at the forefront of the Wolves’ efforts on both sides of the ball.
Lewis stars at running back and safety for Eastlake, but Washington is looking to use him as a linebacker, he said.
“Safety and linebacker do have a lot in common, where you have to read the field and know who you have to be going up against,” he said. “But I’m going to have to change a lot in my size – I’m obviously going to have to put on some weight, which I don’t really see a problem in doing.”
Dirk Huebner, the Wolves’ running backs and strength and conditioning coach, said Snell’s offense borrows a lot of traits from Skyline’s, which averaged 51 points per game in 2012 en route to the state title.
Like its Sammamish rival, Eastlake’s new system will be a no-huddle, spread-formation attack, but the Wolves are also throwing in plenty of wrinkles.
“It’s nothing where it’s so groundbreaking,” Huebner said, “but it’s truly what coach Snell has allowed our personnel and our staff to come up with, and it is really going to be our own thing.”
Bartel thinks Lewis has a chance to thrive in the offense.
“I don’t know if they’ve ever really used Drew other than to hand him the ball and let him run downhill,” Bartel said. “That’s going to change.”
Lewis expresses joy about the new coaching staff and the changes they’ve brought. He and quarterback Blue Thomas shouldn’t have to shoulder as much responsibility as last season, when the Wolves’ record dropped to 4-6.
“We could honestly perfect what we have now and go through the entire season just with what we know right now,” Lewis said. “But I know (Bartel is) going to continue putting in more plays, more formations.”
Lewis hasn’t completely shut the door on other schools – he expects them to continue recruiting throughout the fall – and that falls in line with the advice his older brother, Ryan, has given him.
“He had a lot to say, but he kind of holds back on some things because he wants me to figure it out on my own,” he said. “At the end, it’s my choice: Don’t let any colleges try to fool you into thinking that you really need to go there, when really it’s not the best fit. He’s helped prepare me pretty well.”