Time Is Now For Jon Lewis

Time Is Now For Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis has been a project for West Virginia’s coaching staff as a defensive lineman in the four years since coming out of John Kelley’s program at University High.

But now, he has arrived.

Jon Lewis

As he goes into his redshirt senior season, and with jobs up for grabs on that d-line, Lewis figures to have a major impact on the program.

“Jon Lewis brings a lot of value,” defensive line coach Bruce Tall said. “He can play a lot of positions. He’s a great leader. He’s a role model. He goes 100 miles an hour. Once he steps on that grass he flips a switch. He’s a special young man.”

It wasn’t always that way. He redshirted a year, then came along slowly, but over the past three years, he has played in 27 games, including all 13 last season.

At 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, he is a best fit a defensive end or tackle for WVU, but his greatest asset comes in that leadership role.

“I’m just making sure that we hold each other accountable,” he said on Tuesday. “One thing I say in practice is, ‘If you catch me not doing something right or you see me slacking, then hold me accountable.’ I just try to hold everybody accountable and we keep each other working. We keep it competitive and we just keep working.”

With the competition for playing time strong on the defensive line, almost every practice becomes a tryout and little has yet been decided, although Adam Shuler II and Reese Donahue, a pair of sophomores with some starting experience, seem to be in line to start at two of the spots.

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Usually, coaches are trying to get more and more speed out of players.

In the case of Matt Jones, who is taking over at center for the departed Tyler Orlosky, they need to slow him down some.

“I think Matt is pretty big, he’s physical, he’s strong,” said starting right tackle Colton McKivitz. “Now it’s just slowing down and playing, sometimes he goes a million miles per hour.

“I know once he relaxes, he’s making the right calls and we go off what he does. I think we’re pretty confident about what he calls and we’re just going to stick with it and go.”

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It was mentioned to Al-Rasheed Benton, the WVU senior linebacker, that the coaching staff tries to run players in and out of the game to keep players from playing too much.

That doesn’t sit well with him.

“I don’t think I played enough, to be honest. I want to play 50 more plays this year if I can. One of the biggest things with me holding up was getting with (strength and conditioning coach) Mike (Joseph) and (football athletic trainer) Dave (Kerns) and those guys, making sure I did my treatment and rehab and getting in with Mike to do some injury-prevention things,” he said.

“That’s the biggest thing — you have to stay on top of those little things and that’ll help you even more as the season goes on. If (defensive coordinator Tony Gibson) needs me to play 50 more plays than I did last year, then I’ll do the same. It’s whatever this team needs.”

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West Virginia University women’s soccer senior forward Michaela Abam has been named to the 2017 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List, released Tuesday by the United Soccer Coaches.

A Houston native, Abam lands on the list for the first time in her career. At least one Mountaineer has been named to the initial watch list in each of the last seven years, including 2016 Hermann Trophy winner Kadeisha Buchanan.

College soccer’s version of the Heisman Trophy, the award represents the highest level of individual achievement in the sport. The list is compiled by the United Soccer Coaches Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division I All-America Committees, based on analysis of returning All-America and All-Region players, as well as any prominent newcomers.

“I’m absolutely thrilled the MAC Hermann Trophy committee has nominated Michaela for this prestigious award,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “It’s exciting to see her on this elite list. She has put a lot of work and dedication in to get to this point, and we’re proud of the attention she is bringing to this program.”

Ten different Mountaineers have been named to the watch list a combined 15 times since 2003. WVU has had eight semifinalists, including Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence in 2015 and 2016. Buchanan was the first-ever Mountaineer to claim the award.

A 2016 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America Second Team honoree and the co-Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Abam has led the Mountaineers in scoring all three seasons at WVU, including last year, as she finished ranked No. 1 in the Big 12, No. 24 nationally, with a career single-season high 33 points (12 G, 9 A). She also ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 in game-winning goals (5) and goals, and No. 2 in assists.

A two-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree and the 2014 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Abam enters her senior season ranked No. 8 in WVU history in career goals (32) and No. 9 in career points (77).