Lewis on facing his old UW teammates Saturday in Boulder: “For me, this is going to be a primetime-type of game.”
Drew Lewis lost his way at Washington. He knows this now.
“I knew I had screwed up,” he said.
A linebacker out of Eastlake High in Sammamish, Lewis signed with the Huskies as part of Chris Petersen’s first UW recruiting class in 2014. A year and half later, in the summer of 2015, Lewis was dismissed by Petersen for what was described then as a violation of team rules.
“That definitely crushed me,” Lewis said.
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“It was interesting how it ended there,” he added. “I was still learning and the people I was hanging out with were not people I should have been hanging out with. I saw myself starting to get in trouble — my grades started dropping, my focus was lacking on and off the field.
“The coaches sat me down and just said, ‘This isn’t working.’”
Two years later, Lewis has found his place again in the Pac-12, and he’ll be starting at inside linebacker for Colorado (3-0) against the No. 7 Huskies (3-0) in both teams’ Pac-12 opener Saturday night in Boulder.
He wasn’t sure he would ever make it back to major-college football. After leaving UW, Lewis made his way to a junior college in Coffeyville, Kansas — “the middle of nowhere,” he said.
“At the time, I thought it was crushing my dreams,” he said. “It felt like I was done at that point. I didn’t know about JC or how that worked.”
To make matters worse, Lewis said he broke his thumb in his first game at Coffeyville in 2015 and missed the next five games. He wasn’t sure any big-time coach would notice him again.
“Junior college can really make or break someone,” said Lewis, whose father, Will, played cornerback for the Seahawks in 1980-81 and has spent 25 years as an NFL scout.
“The people there — there are a group of athletes really determined to get back to Division I, to bounce back, and then a lot of delinquents who have been in trouble. I just came from being at Washington, and I knew I had screwed up and I didn’t want to do the same thing twice. I had to make sure who I was hanging around. I was really put to the test there. The whole experience was pretty humbling.”
By the end of the 2015 season, Lewis had shown enough at Coffeyville at attract scholarship offers from three programs: Colorado, Utah State and Memphis. He hit it…