Between his leadership and his defense, Jourdan Lewis brings a lot to the Michigan football team. The junior cornerback leads the team in pass breakups and is one of the most senior members of the secondary, and he returned an interception for a touchdown against Northwestern on Saturday.
But one underrated boost Lewis brings to the Wolverines doesn’t come on Saturdays. Every Tuesday, all season long, the normally laid-back Lewis has shown up to practice with his most energy of the week.
“That’s his day,” said junior safety Delano Hill. “He says, ‘Tuesday is my day, I’m gonna help y’all out with the energy, and the rest of the week y’all gotta help me.’ Today was his day, so the rest of the week, we’re gonna help him out.”
Normally, Tuesdays can be lower-energy. It doesn’t have the excitement of being the first day of the week, but it’s still far from game day. It can be grueling. But when you bring up his Tuesday energy routine, Lewis shows no signs of dread or intimidation. He shows excitement.
“Tuesday’s the start of the week — the work week,” Lewis said. “When we start working, we’ve got full pads on, that’s when we really get down and grind.”
With Lewis, that’s exactly the point. If he can get the team fired up on Tuesday, when the hard work starts, they can ride the energy through the harder practices of the week.
As for his tactics, teammates never quite know which method Lewis will take to bring the hype.
“He just acts wild,” Hill said. “Screaming, whatever you can name, he’s doing it.”
Normally, Lewis has a relaxed demeanor. He is relatively small in stature, and he speaks softly, albeit with an edge. That, too, plays a role in Lewis’ Tuesday tradition.
Since his teammates know him as laid-back, seeing him full of energy re-ignites the defense.
Regardless of how reserved Lewis can be off the field, his performances in games have spoken volumes. Pro Football Focus rated him as the nation’s best cornerback before the Northwestern game, and after he returned an interception for a touchdown, redshirt freshman safety Jabrill Peppers echoed that sentiment.
Through six games, he has broken up eight passes and has two interceptions, and those numbers come despite the fact that teams have avoided throwing his way all year long.
“He’s earned everything that’s been said about him and even more,” said redshirt junior receiver Jehu Chesson. “I think he’s one of the best cornerbacks I’ve ever gone against. To be going against him every day, it’s a great opportunity for me to get better, because if I fail at a route or something, I can go to him and sort of see what he saw.”
Like most receivers Lewis faces, Chesson is significantly taller than the 5-foot-10 Lewis. To combat it, the junior relies mostly on his speed, game planning and yes, his energy, to exploit opponents’ weaknesses.
“There’s really nothing to this game but preparation,” Chesson said. “If you really want to win, you’ll prepare, and he really wants to win every play, so he’ll prepare and do so every play.”
Some days, preparation means being calculated and reserved. But on Tuesdays, it could mean just about anything.