Buffs’ Drew Lewis aims to fill Kenneth Olugbode’s shoes

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado linebacker Drew Lewis was on the field for just 46 defensive snaps last season.

Drew Lewis has yet to make much of an impact on the field at Colorado, but the junior linebacker is already becoming somewhat of a legend with his workouts and athleticism.

Last month, running back Phillip Lindsay told a story about Lewis crushing a 400-meter run on an inclined treadmill. It’s an exercise that not many Buffs can complete, Lindsay said, but Lewis finished like it was no big deal.

“Drew is one of the most athletic men I have ever been around in my life, other than (former CU cornerback Chidobe Awuzie),” Lindsay said.

In May, Lewis had a broad jump of 130 inches, which would have topped every linebacker at the NFL combine. Outside linebacker Derek McCartney has marveled at Lewis’ strength.

“I love hearing that kind of stuff,” Lewis said. “It’s always fun to see that stuff.”

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Lewis isn’t letting that go to his head, however. He realizes all that matters is what he does on the field.

“It’s a lot of hype, it’s good to hear, but when it comes down to it, I still have a lot to prove,” he said.

Lewis is projected to start at Jack linebacker, where Kenneth Olugbode — now with the Cleveland Browns — starred for the past three years. Playing behind several veterans last year, Lewis was on the field for just 46 defensive snaps, recording eight tackles and a sack.

Now, he’s got a chance to show he can play full time.

“Having to step up into Kenneth Olugbode’s shoes, everybody is saying, ‘He was a big-time player, are you going to be able to do that?'” Lewis said. “I think, ‘Absolutely.’ I mimic my game after him. I’m going to try to do exactly what he did, if not better than he did.”

Coming out of Eastlake High School in Sammamish, Wash., Lewis signed with the hometown Washington Huskies, redshirting in 2014. In 2015, he played at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College before coming to CU.

Having a second chance to shine in the Pac-12 only adds to his motivation.

“That whole route I took to get here, I don’t forget about that kind of stuff,” he said. “It all adds in to fueling up my fire.”

Ross aims for more

As a junior last year, Devin Ross led the Buffs with 66 catches — the seventh-best single-season total in CU history — and finished second in receiving yards (765) and touchdowns (five).

CU’s loaded receiving corps is pushing Ross to be even better as a senior. Ross, fellow seniors Bryce Bobo, Kabion Ento and Shay Fields, and juniors Jay MacIntyre and Juwann Winfree headline what is viewed as one of the top receiving corps in the country.

“It looks amazing this year,” Ross said. “You can’t even tell who is a starter and who is not now. We get each other better every day. We’re all just working together to be the best receiver group we can possibly be.”

Ross said the freshmen receivers, including four-star recruits KD Nixon and Laviska Shenault, has been impressive, too.

Having so much talent at the position puts pressure on Ross and others, but he said he’s got plenty of motivation.

“I’m trying to take that next step with my game,” he said. “I want to be a Biletnikoff Award finalist, so I want to do whatever it takes every single day. My mindset is just different. I have a senior mindset, so I just want to go out there and make plays every day and do what I have to do.”

Ross has 97 catches for 1,113 yards in his career and this summer was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, along with Fields.

George on his way

CU is hoping to finally have junior college transfer Kevin George on the field Thursday.

A cornerback from Lafayette, La., George has been delayed in his arrival while he completed his academic work at George Military Academy.

George was supposed to arrive Monday night, but because of flooding in New Orleans, his flight was cancelled. He was scheduled to fly in Tuesday night and spend Wednesday getting a physical and going through compliance.

George had seven pass breakups and two interceptions in nine games at Georgia Military Academy. He has four years to play three seasons at CU.


Offensive tackle Isaac Miller has battled injuries throughout his time at CU, but the sophomore is finally healthy. MacIntyre said Miller has put together three consecutive strong practices. “If he keeps doing that he’s going to be a really good player,” he said. … The Buffs were in full pads Tuesday and MacIntyre he’s still encouraged by the energy at practice. “The guys are still whopping and hollering and excited about practicing, which is always great,” he said. … With two-a-days no longer allowed, the Buffs are practicing just once a day and MacIntyre said the team looks fresher this year.

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