TCU football’s top 5 players in 2019
TCU cornerback Julius Lewis is the first to classify his college career as being loaded with “ups and downs.”
That’s why the former Mansfield High product is determined to close it on an “up” going into 2019.
“I’d like to finish on an up. That’s what I’m hoping for,” Lewis said. “Last year was great, but it’s all about this year.”
Yes, last year saw Lewis return to a high level of play. He started all 13 games for the Frogs, pairing with Jeff Gladney as one of the best cornerback duos in the Big 12.
Lewis allowed a reception every 15.4 coverage snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, the second-best in that category behind Gladney. He finished tied for the team lead with two interceptions, and had four pass breakups.
That marked quite a bounce back season for Lewis after he battled injuries and combined to play in just nine games in 2016-17.
“Sometimes you have your down periods,” Lewis said of his injury-plagued years. “But you’ve got to remember where you came from, what your roots are, what brought you here.
“I’ve always been a fighter.”
Lewis came to TCU as a three-star prospect out of Mansfield High, rated as the sixth-best cornerback in Texas by 247Sports. He burst onto the scene as a freshman, playing in 12 games with four starts and making a handful of memorable plays.
In TCU’s double-overtime victory over Baylor in 2015, Lewis was part of a fourth-and-1 stop to seal the victory. He went on to have seven tackles in the Alamo Bowl victory over Oregon.
That’s the type of impact Lewis wants to make this season. He enjoyed his summer break, making his first trip to Hollywood and Universal Studios, but he’s been all football since fall camp started this month.
“I’m ready,” Lewis said. “Last one.”
TCU has had the Big 12’s top pass defense for two straight years, and it would appear in good position to make it three straight.
Lewis and Gladney have the ability to be shut-down corners on the outside, embracing when coach Gary Patterson puts them on an island with some of the top receivers in the country.
Facing a talented receiver such as Jalen Reagor on a daily basis has the cornerbacks prepared for those moments, of course.
“We have fast guys, quick guys, big guys, so I’ve seen what I’m going to see throughout the year in practice,” Lewis said. “You have to embrace being on an island. Coach P puts a lot of trust in us, so we’ve got to do it.”
Outside of the cornerbacks, the Frogs should have a solid safety corps with Innis Gaines healthy and back at strong safety; Trevon Moehrig at free safety; and Vernon Scott at weak safety.
“If we communicate, if we’re on the same page and know our assignments,” Lewis said, “I feel we can all be successful.”