Lazy is not a word that is associated with Danville senior Devin Lewis.
The 5-foot, 8-inch, 175-pound outside linebacker is usually characterized by words like tough, hard-working and smart.
Danville coach B.J. Luke says that Lewis is a “role model” for grade-school students in the district.
But when it comes to tying his shoes — Lewis openly admits that he is “lazy.”
“It’s a habit that I have,’’ he said. “I just pull the laces tight and then stick them into my shoe.’’
Lewis has been playing this way since his freshman season and he has been walking with his shoes untied for as long as he can remember.
“Growing up, I never liked tying my shoes,’’ he said. “I always thought it was a waste of time. So I would tighten them up and tuck them in. So, I guess in a way, I’m lazy.’’
Danville senior teammate Cirron Clark joked around about calling him “Shoelace” Lewis.
Ironically, that’s the nickname of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who also plays with his shoes untied. Robinson has rushed for 352 yards in three Wolverine victories.
But, don’t look for Lewis to get many plays on the offensive side of the ball.
“I played running back on the JV team and I could do it again, but I don’t want to give up any plays on the defensive side of the ball,’’ Lewis said. “I feel at home on defense and I feel like I can contribute more on defense.’’
Lewis is sixth on the Vikings with 22 tackles even after missing parts of the first two games and changing positions.
He started the season as an inside linebacker in the Danville defensive scheme, but the development of senior Aaron Hale has allowed Lewis to return to his natural outside linebacker spot.
“Devin doesn’t complain about where he plays, he just like to be playing,’’ Luke said. “He is a good athlete, and he will just get after you from whatever spot you line him up at.
“As a sophomore, we played him at defensive end.’’
Lewis admitted it was different playing the inside position.
“You are constantly getting hit by a lineman or a back,’’ he said. “I like being out in space, being able to get off the block and make a tackle.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t like the physical play. It was just that I felt more comfortable using my quickness in the open spaces on the outside.’’
And his teammates are quick to point out that Lewis likes to hit.
“I don’t think he knows how hard he hits, because he hits very hard,’’ Clark said. “I used to go up against him when I was on the offense, and he hit me pretty good several times.’’
The style of football that Lewis has played has been a great teaching tool to the younger Vikings.
“He’s a very hard working man and he keeps the defense energized,’’ Danville sophomore safety Trent Sherfield said. “He is always in the plays and he motivates the guys on the defense with his actions.
“He doesn’t say a lot. But he plays hard, and carries out his assignments.’’
But, how does a guy that is only 5-8 and 175 pounds provided a physical presence to the Danville defense?
“Everyone is usually bigger than me, so I use my hitting ability to prove that size doesn’t matter,’’ he said. “You just have to play with better technique and play lower than the bigger guy.
“You can be a small person, but if you hit someone right, you can get anyone to the ground.’’
And while some might question his logic, they should also understand that Lewis is one of the smartest players on the Viking roster.
The senior is currently carrying a 3.4 GPA and Lewis adds that he has all As and one B this semester.
“School has always been very important to me,’’ he said.
That’s because his older brother, Donavan Lewis, who played defensive end last year at Danville, was nearly a straight-A student.
“I’ve always wanted to be as smart as him,’’ said Devin, who admitted it’s a little different not playing with his brother this season.
“Someone else is playing that spot this year,’’ he said. “My brother is still pushing me to be better — both on the field and off of it.’’