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The Final Cockdown: #8, Kaiwan Lewis

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The team's most experienced linebacker looks to build off a strong 2013 campaign.

Kaiwan Lewis
Junior Linebacker
6'0", 228
Pleasantville, N.J.

Recruitment:
4-stars, #12 ILB in 2012 class
Other offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, among many others

College Career:
Lewis didn't redshirt as a freshman, instead serving in a special teams capacity in 11 games. Last season, he took over for Shaq Wilson at the middle linebacker position. Lewis started 10 games and played in 12, finishing third on the team with 54 tackles. A tribute to his predecessor, who wore that number? Hah, nah. Lewis also snared a pair of interceptions, both on tipped balls. His lone sack came against Clemson. Here, watch him light up Tajh Boyd:

He also forced a fumble against the Tigers. Lewis' final highlight of the season was an interception against Wisconsin that seemed to salt that game away. You'll recall Brandon Wilds fumbled it back to the Badgers, but co-linebacker Skai Moore would snag a pick of his own and extinguish whatever threat of a late comeback that remained.

2014 Outlook:
Kind of poetic that, after an offseason of hand wringing, our final pair of standout defensive plays of the 2013-2014 season were made by linebackers, no? Indeed, Kaiwan will anchor a fully intact linebacker corps that finds itself in unfamiliar territory--that is, shouldering lofty expectations as opposed to being viewed as a liability. In fact, Lewis represents a portion of the positional depth that's led to Lorenzo Ward integrating a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Trivia:
Lewis is one of three scholarship players from the state of New Jersey. You like know one other—Damiere Byrd—but can you name the third? Here's a hint: two days ago, we only had two Garden State scholarship players. Fullback Jordan Diaz hails from Hamilton, N.J., and was recently awarded a scholarship by Steve Spurrier. Congrats, fella.