Welcome back into our post-spring look at where the Big Ten stands in terms of talent. We got things kicked off on Thursday with a look at our No. 25 Player, Christian Bryant of Ohio State. Yesterday we moved on to our No. 24 player, Ryan Groy of Wisconsin . Today we move on to a player that has been a rock for Michigan State’s Top 10 defense for the last three years, and a starter for the last two.
Before we get into it, let us remind you of what criteria we used to make our Top 25 list. We used things like importance to your team, overall skill at your position, records set, past performance, conference honors (coaches, media, our list too), and the good old-fashioned eye test.
Let us dive into one of the hardest hitting defensive backs in the B1G.
No. 23: Isaiah Lewis (S, Michigan State)
2012 Stats/Honors: 13 Games played, 41 Solo tackles, 39 Assisted tackles, 1.5 Tackles for loss, 2 Interceptions returned for a total of 69 yards and 6 defensive break ups. Honorable mention All-B1G for Coaches and Media.
What makes him worthy: Plain and simple: Isaiah Lewis is a hard-hitting ball hawk of a safety. Lewis has started 27 consecutive games for the Spartans, and his 158 interception return yards rank 10th most in MSU history. In other words, if Isaiah can get his hands on the ball, he has the speed to bring it back to the house every single time. His two career defensive touchdowns speak to that speed, and the video later has both of them.
In 2012, Lewis ranked second on the team and tied for 30th in the Big Ten with a career-high 80 tackles. Lewis also led the team with six tackles on special teams; all on kick return coverage. In his junior season, Lewis ranked 4th on the team in passes defended with two interceptions and 6 pass break ups, only behind Darqueze Dennard and two NFL players in William Gholston and Johnny Adams.
Isaiah Lewis had one more pass defended his Junior year than he had in his Sophomore year, though he had 2 more interceptions (four) in 2011. I would look for him to continue to find himself around the ball and pick off a few more passes in 2013.
Like Christian Bryant who is No. 25 on our list, Lewis makes an argument for the most physical safety in the conference. The true senor is 5’10” and weighs 210lbs.
Lewis has seen action in all three of his years at Michigan State, and appeared in all 13 games his freshman season, primarily on special teams, though he also saw action behind current NFL safety Trenton Robinson.
Oh, and about that eye test…
Video Proof: First I would like to thank M. Pietrangelo for all of the Michigan State highlight videos we will be using for this list. Follow him on twitter @Pietrang5
The Top 25 List:
No. 23 – Isaiah Lewis (S, Michigan State)