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Freshman Damarjhe Lewis impressed IU coaches this spring

The Georgia native appears to be on his way to cracking Indiana’s defensive line rotation as a first-year player

Courtesy Damarjhe Lewis’ Twitter

The offer list was impressive.

Florida State, Penn State and Tennessee all extended scholarships to Damarjhe Lewis, a 6-foot-3, 291-pound defensive tackle who spent his junior year of high school committed to Auburn. Lewis ultimately opted for the Big Ten, seeing an avenue toward immediate playing time at Indiana.

And if his first four practices in Bloomington were any indication, Lewis is on his way to earning a spot in IU’s defensive line rotation this fall.

“He is a dynamic player,” position coach Kevin Peoples said Wednesday. “He’s got some explosivity, he’s got some twitch and he’s going to be a guy that we think can get in the mix next year.”

By enrolling at IU in January, Lewis hoped to get a head start on making that happen. He was one of nine mid-year additions to the team, and he stood out as one of the most impressive athletes of the bunch across January and February. Ahead of spring practice, Indiana head coach Tom Allen lauded Lewis for his work in the weight room and touted his upside as a player to watch.

During the all-too-brief spring practice window, Lewis demonstrated that his coach’s excitement was not misplaced. Here’s a glimpse of Lewis (No. 34) surfacing in one of IU’s final team workouts of March:

With players such as Jerome Johnson, Jovan Swann, Sio Nofoagatoto’a, C.J. Person, and DeMarcus Elliott, Indiana is developing some decent depth in the middle of its defensive line. While IU tabbed Lewis as a three-technique during the recruiting process, it feels possible that he could also see some time at nose tackle, too.

Indiana needs more disruptive players up front, and while Lewis only had a few opportunities this spring to work his way up the depth chart, his coaches believe he made the most of them.

“Those four practices were huge for him,” Peoples said. “We wish we would have had 15, but who doesn’t? We think he has the ability to be a dynamic football player. Strong, explosive guy. We’re extremely looking forward to him.”