Just two inches.
That's all Midwest City linebacker Zeke Lewis needs.
“It'd be incredible,” Bombers coach Steve Huff said of the recruiting attention Lewis would be drawing if he were even 5-foot-11 instead of 5-9. “Somebody's going to take a chance on him, though, and they're going to get a steal.”
His size certainly didn't hold him back this season. Lewis had a Class 6A-best 169 tackles and added six sacks and an interception for the 11-1 Bombers.
He earned Oklahoman All-State and Big All-City Defensive Player of the Year honors.
While he'd like to be a bit taller, Lewis said his size has forced him to become a better player.
“I can work hard and prove everybody wrong,” he said. “Everybody said I was too short but I found ways to make plays.”
And Lewis made plays wherever he was.
“He plays with a passion that is far beyond a lot of kids,” Huff said. “He plays with the mentality that he'd rather hit you than talk to you. He'll run around trying to find someone to hit.”
Finding contact and being in the middle of things is the key for any successful linebacker but Lewis was on another level.
“I love contact,” Lewis said. “I love hitting someone and I love stopping another team's offense, going back and watching James (Flanders, Midwest City's running back) and Joel (Davis, the Bombers' quarterback), put points up and then go out there and stop them again.”
While Flanders — the Big All-City Offensive Player of the Year — was the Bombers' leader on that side, Lewis led the defense.
Huff still believes some Division I school will take a chance on Lewis late in the recruiting process. He could play outside linebacker but realizes his future probably lies at strong safety.
Lewis began taking reps at strong safety in practice during the season, playing the position for the scout defense against the No. 1 offense.
“That's something I wanted to do,” Lewis said. “The coaches liked it because it got the offense better work and it helped me get used to playing there.”
Huff is convinced Lewis could play anywhere on the field.
“If we would've needed him at running back this year, he would've done a great job there for us,” Huff said. “He'd played some there before. But he was so good for us at linebacker that we weren't going to do anything different with him.”