Donavon Lewis is on track to have the best season of his Fresno State career, and that’s not always a given during a senior year.
The three-year starter out of Clovis West High leads the Bulldogs with 4.5 sacks and seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He’s already matched his career-best of 45 tackles with four games left in the regular season. Lewis also has forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and made an interception.
Still, Lewis is not too excited to think his production could earn him All-Mountain West Conference honors at season’s end.
“It’s a team sport and the stats that really mean something are wins and losses -- our record isn’t where we’d like it to be,” said Lewis, referencing Fresno State’s 3-5 overall record and 2-2 Mountain West record as the Bulldogs prepare for Wyoming (3-5, 1-3) on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.
“I’m just trying to finish my career with a bang. Hopefully it’ll help us get more wins and finish this season strong.”
The 6-foot-2, 249-pound Lewis ranks fifth in the Mountain West in sacks per game (0.56), 13th in tackles for a loss (0.88 average) and 37th in tackles per game (5.6).
Last season, Lewis finished with five sacks, nine tackles for a loss and 45 total tackles.
“Donavon is just physical and strong, plays with all of his heart,” Bulldogs inside linebacker Kyrie Wilson said. “He’s just ready to play all the time. As soon as that ball is snapped, he’s ready and fired up to go and knows his assignments.”
Initially recruited as a defensive end, Lewis was moved to strongside outside linebacker after coach Tim DeRuyter replaced Pat Hill and converted the Bulldogs to a 3-4 base defense from a 4-3 scheme.
Lewis has put together a solid career once he learned how to play in a standing position as a linebacker. He had 93 total tackles, with 23 for a loss, and 11.5 sacks entering this season. When Lewis is not rushing to pressure quarterbacks, he is dropping back and typically covering tight ends.
Lewis has made 34 straight starts, behind only offensive lineman Cody Wichmann (36), and tied with safety Derron Smith and nose guard Tyeler Davison among active Bulldogs.
“I’m just trying to play as good of football as I can,” Lewis said. “I think I’m becoming more disciplined as a player, and it’s showing. I’m starting to make more plays than in the past. There were a lot of plays I should’ve made in past seasons and now I’m making them.
“But at the end of the day, it’s about winning, winning as a team. We haven’t been doing it. We’ve got to get back on the right track, play football the way we’re capable of playing.”