The Wolverine

November 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 41 of 161

BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan's defense forced three turnovers in its first seven games, and Jourdan Julian Lewis — with a tip of the cap to an improving pass rush — owns 67 percent of those. In fact, the sophomore cornerback out of Detroit's Cass Technical High School has a mini highlight reel going, in his first season as a starter. Lewis, long whispered to be Michigan's best man-to-man defender, came up with the following big plays in the Wol- verines' struggle-laden start to the season: • Recorded his first career intercep- tion amid a dominant defensive per- formance against Miami (Ohio). • Raced all the way across the field to chase down a Utah receiver and prevent a 67-yard screen pass from becoming a 95-yard sprint to the end zone. U-M head coach Brady Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mat- tison lauded the effort as quintessen- tial "Michigan defense" and a high- light from which others can learn. • Sliced in on a pressured throw from Penn State quarterback Chris- tian Hackenberg to pick off the pass. Lewis' sudden-change setup pro- duced the game-tying field goal in an eventual 18-13 win by the Wolverines. Lewis readily admits he's suffered his share of hard knocks, over the course of seeing the field 20 times in his first two seasons. But what he's gained will serve him, and the Wol- verines, well over the next 20 and beyond. "J.D. is the consummate tech- nique guy," Hoke said. "We'll get done with practice, and he'll stay out there and just work. He and [redshirt sophomore cornerback] Terry Rich- ardson will work through releases with guys. "His leadership is really develop- ing. From that standpoint, we're get- ting more from him. He's got a good burst. From the physical aspect, there are a lot of things he does awfully well. He's got that makeup speed, and that quickness. "Technique-wise, he's improved immensely. The maturation process is a big part of that. I cannot say enough about how he's been for us. He's been very solid for us." At times, he's been spectacular. He waves off the touchdown-saving sprint as simply doing his job. He noted Mattison instilled that sense into him, and demanded Lewis take himself to a higher level. The Cass Tech corner needed to work his way up to it, he himself ONE ON ONE Jourdan Lewis Takes On The Cover-Corner Challenge

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