Shaun Lewis leads motivated OSU defense into game at Baylor
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2012
11/29/12 at 6:06 AM
STILLWATER - A college football coach once took a look at Shaun Lewis, decided he was too small and essentially said, "No thanks."
A four-star recruit from Missouri City, Texas, Lewis was the No. 4 outside linebacker in the country, according to Scout.com. His size - 5 feet, 11 inches and at that point 200 pounds - didn't stop a dozen schools from pursuing him.
"There is no such thing as too small to do anything," said Lewis, a junior at Oklahoma State. "Just look around us. There are really no limitations to what anybody with a purpose can do."
Lewis brought that attitude to Stillwater, where he became a starter midway through his first season and was named a freshman All-American by Rivals and the Football Writers Association of America, in addition to being Big 12 co-defensive freshman of the year.
While it has been difficult for Lewis to maintain that high level throughout his career, he's described by coach Mike Gundy as a player who is "around the ball a lot." As a result, Lewis has been responsible for five interceptions, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in the past three years, plus 168 tackles.
"He has just played lights-out the whole time he has been here and is a real competitor and is very intelligent," defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "He's just a heck of an athlete."
In Saturday's 51-48 overtime loss to Oklahoma, Lewis was part of a secondary that struggled in slowing the Sooners' passing game. It helped OU that quarterback Landry Jones was having one of the best games of his career.
"He threw 71 passes and completed like 47 of them," Lewis said. "That's amazing.
"We did the best job we could do limiting their run game to make them one-dimensional and tried to get after him. I could have done a better job of getting home on some of those blitzes, but he was just on the money all night."
This week, the Cowboys close out the regular season with a trip to Baylor, another offensively sound team. After what happened in Norman, Lewis said the defense is more motivated.
"Anytime you take a tough loss like that, it makes you that much more effective the next week," he said. "We want to go out and prove that we are not the defense that we were Saturday night. We are a much better defense than that."
Being from the Houston area, Lewis always looks forward to playing closer to home. Part of the reason he chose OSU was because his family could attend his games.
"I'm a real family guy," he said. "I want my family to be able to get in the car and come see me play.
"That's a big thing for me, to be able to come out of the tunnel and see my family after the games. That's really what it's all about, is sharing those moments with the people that you love."
Lewis considers himself a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of guy and credits his mother, Kristie, for putting him on the right path.
"My mom kept me in church as a child, and things you do as a child tend to stay with you," Lewis said. "Even coming to college, I have been growing closer to Christ as I have gotten older.
"I believe I wouldn't even be here where I am without Christ. That's the most important thing that I want my life to reflect."
Several years later, Lewis doesn't hold anything against the coach who said he was undersized (former Texas defensive coordinator and current Florida coach Will Muschamp).
"I think everything happens for a reason," Lewis said. "There is a reason that (Texas) didn't recruit me and there's a reason that Oklahoma State had an interest in me and there's a reason that I am here."
11 a.m. Saturday
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Original Print Headline: Motivated OSU defense led by hard-working Lewis
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