Tulane football had a magical end to their season and for one member of the Wave it isn’t over just yet. Cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. has accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game and will participate in the contest next month in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The honor should come to little surprise to those who have followed Lewis and Tulane this season. The Baton Rouge native helped anchor a Green Wave secondary that put up excellent numbers against opposing passers in 2018. He finished the year with three interceptions (one that he returned 49 yards for a touchdowns).
Even more impressively, though, was Lewis work knocking away passes. He broke up 17 pass attempts this season (the most in the AAC) and helped the Wave defense record a total of 70. Lewis’ six defended passes in a game against East Carolina back in November assisted the Wave defense in setting a new NCAA record for the FBS level with 20 total in one contest.
This year’s success was par for the course for the senior. As a freshman in 2015, Lewis played in nine games and recorded 30 tackles. His sophomore season saw that number jump to 39 as well as his first two career interceptions. Lewis also defended eight passes that year. As a junior last year, Lewis recovered two fumbles, tallied another two picks and broke up 11 more passes.
His efforts throughout his career have garnered enough attention for him to be the most recent Green Wave player to be selected to play in the Shrine Game. He is the first since 2010 when running back Andre Anderson was invited. Lewis will be hoping to join the likes of former teammate Parry Nickerson who made his way into the NFL last season (although Nickerson did not participate in the East-West Game).
The Shrine Game has helped numerous collegiate players have their talents recognized. In 2017, 50 participants from the game went on to take part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can watch Lewis and other invitees take part in the Shrine Game on January 19. The game will be broadcast on NFL Network starting at 2 p.m. CT.