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We go over the interview process and his demeanor is very relaxed but attentive. I’m wondering if he really wanted to do this but his body language said otherwise. As we begin the interview, his eyes light up when the word football utters out of my mouth. Yeah, he was born for this.
Malcolm Lewis is a red shirt senior wide receiver for the Miami Hurricanes. He’s from Miami, Florida and he’s the fourth child out of five children. Growing up, Lewis’ parents had him in different sports. Because he was good at basketball, football and track, it was a difficult choice for him to choose from. “My high school coach [Damon Cogdell] got in my head and told me to do football and I stuck with it.” He wanted to play running back his freshman year but his coach moved him to wide receiver.
Lewis’ agility compliments his speed which is heightened by his quickness. He’s able to flee defenders once he has the ball in his hands by using his agility and speed but those aren’t his only attributes. “Catching through traffic, coming across the middle, making the first guy miss and keeping the chains moving are my specialties,” says Lewis. “I’m a great blocker too, I take big pride in my blocking.”
His ability to make the tough catches whether stretching out on the sidelines or in the back of the end zone leaping for the grab makes him affective. He gets compared to Devin Hester because of his agility and being able to make cuts while running full speed. Lewis is able to make routine plays into spectacular plays by his skill of being elusive in crowded spaces.
“Catching through traffic, coming across the middle, making the first guy miss and keeping the chains moving are my specialties,”
His favorite NFL players are Jacksonville Jaguars’ wide receiver Allen Hurns, Chicago Bears’ safety Deon Bush and Cleveland Browns’ defensive back Tracy Howard. “When I first got to college, Allen Hurns showed me around college and took me under his wings,” states Lewis. But his favorite all-time is ex-Houston Texans stand out wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Johnson has been an inspiration to Lewis, especially since they both lived in the same area. “Since we come from the same neighborhood and went to the same college, I hope to follow his footsteps and do the same thing he did.” Lewis has always kept in contact with Johnson. “Whenever I veered off and wasn’t focused, I would shoot him a text. It’s always good to communicate with a future Hall Of Famer. It’s a blessing to keep up with a guy like that.”
The high school phenom was honored to get a scholarship from the University of Miami. “I committed early in high school and when I got there, seeing the beaches and meeting different people was a great experience.” Lewis still remembers when he realized that he was ready to play for the Hurricanes. As a freshman, his coach put him in on the fourth possession and immediately he caught a pass for a first down. A few plays later, he caught a pass after making a quick read from a corner-blitz and made another first down. “After that, I felt like it was practice,” says Lewis. “My next reception was a touchdown. I shooked a guy, dove and did a frontwards flip into the end zone. I felt like I was college ready then.”
His true inspirations are his parents. They have been there during the times he needed them the most. During his third game of his freshman season, Lewis made a catch near the goal line and attempted to dive for the touchdown but the tackler caught him and landed on the back of his ankle. Lewis fractured his fibula. “It was hard, lot of nights I cried but seeing my mom, dad and my sisters helped and they pushed me through it,” remembers Lewis.
“Whenever I veered off and wasn’t focused, I would shoot him text. It’s always good to communicate with a future Hall Of Famer.”
It was tough for Lewis to undergo that type of rehab and knowing he wouldn’t play the rest of the season. It was the first time in his football career that he had suffered a major injury. “It hurt them more than it hurt me. To see my mom cry when I got injured, I never seen her cry before and my father too,” says Lewis. “It touched me so much to where I was like, I have to get back on the field and I did extra rehab just to get back playing.”
The Miami native fought hard to get back to the playing field but it was the simple things that made it difficult for him. “Once I got back walking, I thought it was a blessing to walk again. It was like starting all over.” Lewis is appreciative of his family from his grandfather to his aunties. Everybody in his family gave their support and most of all, they are a praying family and kept him in their prayers. “I have a praying family and we believe in God. I believe if you trust in God, he’s going to get you where you want to be.”
Lewis was able to get back on the field and after getting to the point where he wasn’t thinking about the injury, he felt like himself again. It took him a while to get comfortable but once he did during his redshirt senior year, he started to see results. “Growing up in my neighborhood losing people, you had to focus,” says Lewis. Lewis not only gain confidence, he ended up starting the last four games of the season and also scored a touchdown in the Russell Athletic Bowl against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The senior wide receiver was invited to play in the Tropical Bowl in Daytona Beach, Florida, an All-Star game with top fellow senior players in college. Lewis is eager to show that he belongs at the next level. He knows that his past experiences has him mentally ready to go through any grind or challenge that can stand in his way of getting to the pro level. “My goal is to prove everyone that I’m a high caliber player. I understand that circumstances didn’t show that in college but I want to make it to the NFL and just help a team out.”