Mesa State’s Lewis watches college football career come full-circle
Domonique Lewis planned to play football through college, but those plans changed after one semester away from home.
The Mesa State College defensive end returned home to Salt Lake City in the spring semester of 2008 for family reasons.
“My mom was sick,” said Lewis, who wouldn’t elaborate on the illness.
He was in the recruiting class in the fall of 2007 and sat out as a redshirt that season before leaving for home in the spring.
He enrolled at the University of Utah and was planning to play football there while taking care of his mother and little brother. One week into fall practice in 2008, the Utes coaching staff wanted him to put on weight and move from defensive end to the offensive line.
“It wasn’t right for me,” Lewis said. “I lost the love of football.”
He walked away, figuring his football days were behind him, but he stayed in school.
By the spring semester of 2009, though, his family situation improved, allowing Lewis to return to Mesa State and the football field.
“I’m pleased with him,” Mesa co-defensive coordinator Bill Stafford said. “It was difficult for him to leave. He realized this was where he needs to be.”
It didn’t take long for Lewis to rediscover his love and passion for football.
“It would’ve been tough (giving up football),” he admitted. “I was totally shocked when my mom asked me if I wanted to (leave home and return to Mesa State).
“I had the biggest itch to play. There’s nothing like being with a group of guys. Being at a big school, you slip through the cracks. I missed the family element I had in football. I never loved the game as much as this year.”
It didn’t take long for the 6-foot-1, 260-pound sophomore to prove he could still play at a high level either.
“Right away he was in our two-deep,” Stafford said. “He can be as good as I’ve ever coached. The end position needs to be football savvy.”
“We knew he’d be a great player for us,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “It’s good to have him back. He’s a force for us on the defensive line.
“He’s got extremely good talent. He has quickness and strength. He brings a good mixture with Dominic Applehans.”
Three weeks ago against Central Washington, Lewis played in his first football game since the Utah Football Coaches Association All-Star Game in the summer of 2007 and immediately made an impact.
He forced a fumble and sacked the quarterback on his very first play from scrimmage against then 14th-ranked Central Washington.
“He was going against Washington State transfer Andy Roof,” Stafford said. “He plays with a lot of energy. His motor never stops. He is the heir apparent to Dom Applehans.”
Lewis continues to be a force for the Mavericks. He leads Mesa State with four tackles for lost yardage.
“The defensive line group is one of the tightest on the team,” Lewis said. “We want to get the job done. We have the same goals.”