Football: UL quarterback Lewis on second major award watch list
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, July 25, 2020
Several Ragin’ Cajuns have been named to the national watch list for major college football awards in recent weeks, including a second nomination Friday for UL starting senior quarterback Levi Lewis.
Lewis was named to the 90-member watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football.
Earlier this month he was one of only 30 players to earn a spot on the preseason watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which goes to the nation’s best college quarterback.
Lewis was one of nine Group of Five QBs named to the O’Brien watch list and one of two from the Sun Belt Conference, along with Appalachian State’s Zac Thomas.
He also was the first Cajun named to that watch list since Terrance Broadway in 2014.
Other Cajuns named to national watch lists this month include senior running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas, sophomore offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, junior punter Rhys Burns and redshirt senior receiver Jalen Williams.
Williams was named Thursday to the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which recognizes college football’s most impactful leaders in community service.
A Westminster Christian product from Opelousas, Williams caught 21 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown while appearing in 14 games last season.
Byrns was one of just 19 to land a spot Wednesday on the Ray Guy Award watch list, which goes to the country’s top college punter.
The Aussie had the highest average in the Sun Belt last season, 44.2 yards per punt, and he was one of four in the league with a boot of 70 or more yards.
Torrence was named Tuesday to the watch list for the 2020 Outland Trophy, which is given to the best interior lineman in college football.
Ex-UL offensive tackle Robert Hunt, who was selected by Miami in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft and who signed Wednesday with the Dolphins, was on the same list in 2019.
Torrence, a product of St. Helena Central High in Greensburg, stepped in at left guard after Ken Marks got injured in UL’s 2019 season opener against Mississippi State and wound up starting 13 of 14 games as a true freshman.
He played a key role in an offense that ranked third nationally in yards per carry at 6.28 per, tied for third in rushing touchdowns with 42 and finished sixth in total rushing yards with 3,604.
Integral to the Cajun rushing attack were Mitchell and Ragas, who claimed spots on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award that honors the top running back in college football.
The third member of UL’s trio of running backs all with 800-plus yards last season was Raymond Calais Jr., who was selected by Tampa Bay in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
UL was one of just one of eight programs with two running backs on this year’s Doak Walker list, joining Georgia, Penn State, USC, Iowa, North Carolina, Tulsa and Buffalo.
Mitchell ran for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns last season while Ragas rushed for 886 yards and 11 TDs as UL went 11-3, capping its season in January at Mobile with a LendingTree Bowl win over Miami (Ohio).
Lewis named MVP of the LendingTree Bowl, when he threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-17 Cajuns victory over the RedHawks.
The product of Scotlandville Magnet High in Baton Rouge also threw for a career-high 354 yards and career-best four touchdowns in UL’s 2019 Sun Belt championship game loss at Appalachian State.
He ended the season with 3,050 passing yards and 26 TD throws, both single-season school records.
Lewis heads into the 2020 season ranked ninth in UL history with 4,012 career passing yards and fourth in total passing touchdowns with 35.