The Colorado Buffaloes (3-3, 0-3) defense in 2017 wasn’t expected to very good following the departure of 10 or more regular contributors. However, their performance had been a pleasant surprise leading up to their matchup with the Arizona Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) last weekend. In the 45-42 loss, CU allowed UA 425 yards rushing and the single-most yards rushing to an opposing quarterback in FBS history in one game.
He was named the Greg Biekert Award winner by the coaching staff, given to the most improved linebacker after spring practices. He then became the first known Buff since Biekert in 1990 to record 10 or more tackles in the first three starts of a career. In the team strength and conditioning testing at the end of the spring semester, he power cleaned 345 pounds (tied for second best on the team) and had a team-best 130.0-inch broad jump. His broad jump was longer than any linebacker who participated in the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine; Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) and T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) tied for the longest by a LB at 128.0.
Lewis began his collegiate career as a redshirt at the University of Washington in 2014 but transferred to Coffeyville Junior College the next season. With three years to play three, Lewis was recruited as a key piece to give Colorado some depth at the linebacker position in the short term.
Long term, the CU coaching staff raved about what they thought Lewis could do and highly anticipated the type of player he could become as an upperclassmen. As a sophomore in ’16, Lewis played in all 13 games plus the Alamo Bowl, mostly on special teams but did see 46 snaps on defense. One thing was for sure, Drew was an athlete.
Through six games this season, Lewis ranks first on the team in defensive snaps, second on the team in tackles by just 1, first on the team in third down stops and first in quarterback pressures. He has turned into a dynamic playmaker that has real NFL potential. In just half the season, Lewis has become one of the two most invaluable players on the Buffaloes defensive unit.