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October 1, 2012

Lewis took unpredictable journey to Army Bowl

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster

DETROIT - Year after year, Detroit Cass Tech is honored with players selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. In five of the past six years, at least one Technician suited up in America's most prestigious high school football all-star game.

That tradition will continue January 5, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, when cornerback Jourdan Lewis suits up for the East squad. Lewis received his game jersey in a ceremony this afternoon at Cass Tech. For the four-star prospect, it's almost more of a relief than anything.

"I'm just glad I get to get my [All-American] banner up there in the rafters at Cass," he said. "I'm glad to have that honor and be one of the greats at Cass Tech."

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Lewis follows in the footsteps of such former Technicians as William Campbell (2009) and Royce Jenkins-Stone (2012), who, like Lewis committed to Michigan. Unlike those players, however, he didn't follow a traditional path to Cass Tech. Living outside the city of Detroit, attending high school at the powerhouse was just the last step in his journey to All-American status.

"Ever since he was on the Roseville (Mich.) Broncos, he's been dreaming of this," said Linda Lewis, Jourdan's mother. "From there he went to the West Side (Detroit) Cubs, and now he's here at Cass Tech. That's all been the steps along the way to where he got the honor today."

If his journey from suburb standout to city star -- and ultimately All-American -- seemed unpredictable, don't tell that to his youth coach with the Roseville Broncos, Kurt Latour.

"Ever since the first time I saw him play, I knew he was capable of this," Latour said. "It was easy to coach the team with Jourdan on it. We just ran 'Jourdan Left, Jourdan Right' on every series."

When he was that age, Lewis never imagined he would be named to an All-American game. However, he did have his sights set on some lofty goals. He dreamed not just of playing college football, but being the best in the game.

"No, I never even thought of [being named] All-American," Lewis admitted with a laugh. "I was dreaming of winning the Heisman. I wanted to win the Heisman so bad when I was little. That was the main goal, and now I'm happy that this happened, another step on the way."

With all the talent walking the halls of Cass Tech -- five seniors are committed to Division I colleges, and a handful of juniors already hold multiple scholarship offers -- it's still a special moment for Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher when one of his players receives an honor.

However, it's not something that wins football games, and that's his main concern.

"I think it's great that the kids have the opportunity to participate in those Army All-American and Under Armour Bowl games. It establishes your team, and what type of level your team is with what type of players you have on your team. But my key thing is to not just establish players, but now try to uplift my whole team to that top level in the country so we can just keep it going the same way.

"That's what people don't understand: it's the team that wins games. The individual players themselves, that makes it hard, because they'll lose games [unless they play as a team]. It's great to have kids like I have, but if you can them all working together on the same page toward one common goal, it's great."

The game doesn't occur until after Lewis' senior season comes to an end, so the ceremony was the final distraction for the team. Cass Tech is 5-1 on the year, and the Technicians are poised to defend their Division I State Championship this November.

After that, Lewis will use the bowl as one more chance to show what he's got.

"I'm just looking forward to showing the whole country that I can play, and play with the best guys in the country," Lewis said. "On a national stage, everybody's watching you. It's my last chance to make a big impression."



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