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Ronnell Lewis made an impact at OU

JENNI CARLSON — ‘The Hammer' is expected to leave school for the NFL, but the defensive standout from Dewar made a lot of noise in Norman.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 20, 2011

The college career of one of the biggest and loudest hitters in the history of Oklahoma football has ended quietly.

Ronnell Lewis is likely done as a Sooner. Academic ineligibility will keep the defensive end/special teams terror out of the Insight Bowl, news that Bob Stoops delivered amid a litany of other news Monday during his weekly press conference. There was talk of running backs transferring and assistant coaches changing and, oh yeah, Lewis is expected to leave school early for the NFL.

The Hammer goes out without a bang.

What are we to make of this?

His three seasons in Norman were interesting, weren't they? The small-school standout became a fan favorite as a true freshman, flying down the field on kickoff coverage and smashing into many a ball carrier. Then with a big-time performance in the Sun Bowl, he became an offseason infatuation, a defender everyone just knew could be a star at linebacker.

Coaches weren't so sure, but they realized that he was too good to be on the sidelines. Switching him to a defensive end/linebacker hybrid position was a move they embraced.

Ditto for Lewis.

He excelled at the corner with his speed and nose for the ball. Before he was injured in the Baylor game, he was pushing fellow Sooner defensive end Frank Alexander for Big 12 defensive player of the year honors.

Now, he is ranked No. 18 on Mel Kiper's Big Board.

Pretty good for a dude from Dewar.

The small town in eastern Oklahoma is like many small towns. Not much to do. Not many places to go.

I know. I grew up in a small town. Loved it, too. The opportunities that a small town can afford a kid are many. Because there aren't thousands of kids in the school, everyone has a chance to do a little bit of everything.

You want to play sports? Great. You can do that, but you can also sing in the choir and act in the dramas and play in the band and work on the yearbook.

It's an awesome way to figure out your passions and interests.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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