Book it: UM's Jourdan Lewis says he'll be back for final season

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis is coming back for his final year of eligibility, and he hopes that’s enough for people to stop asking him about his future.

Lewis thought he had cleared that up several weeks ago with a Twitter post in late October saying he came to Michigan to get his degree “not to leave in three years.”

He explained Tuesday night after practice that he was compelled to share that message because of all the questions he had fielded from fellow students and even agents who were poking around. The Wolverines are preparing for the Citrus Bowl against Florida in Orlando, Fla., on New Year’s Day.

“It was more pressure than ever at that point, it was just people asking me left or right, ‘Are you going to stay or are you going to go?’” Lewis said. “It felt time to let people know that.  I wanted everyone to know what my decision was going to be.”

But that didn’t quell the questions of the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Detroit native out of Cass Tech who has been piling up postseason accolades like he did pass breakups this fall. Lewis set the single-season Michigan record with 21 pass breakups en route to a long list of postseason honors like All-Big Ten First Team and First-Team All-American by USA Today.

“Nah, it didn’t,” Lewis said, laughing. “Now it’s more like, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure?’ Just making sure my mind is made up.

“I can tell you I’m 100 percent coming back.”

He said the primary reason for his decision is to get his education.

Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis

Trieu: Fresh UM commit Johnson 'makes play after play'

“I haven’t graduated yet,” said Lewis, who would like a career in advertising or marketing when his football career is done. “I was always going to stay.”

Lewis said he didn’t get advice from anyone about whether to make education the priority. Often, players will say their parents stress academics and getting that degree in hand and others rely on what NFL scouts are telling them about their football future. They submit paperwork to the league to get an assessment of where they might be drafted and then make a decision based on that.

He made this call on his own with input from no one.

“It was my decision,” Lewis said. “I always thought I wanted my degree no matter what happens. That was always the plan no matter if I’m one of the top guys in the draft or not.

“Football is not going to last forever, my education will, so I thought that’s the best move for me. Honestly, I thought, ‘Why not?’ It’s a free education, you might as well just finish it out.”

Teammate Jake Butt, the Big Ten’s Tight End of the Year, also recently revealed his intention to return to Michigan for his final season.

Lewis said there is no time to think about the accolades he has received this postseason. Michigan is attempting to reach 10 wins, which is what a victory over Florida will give the Wolverines in Jim Harbaugh’s first season as coach.

Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has become head coach at Maryland, and defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who spent the previous four years as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, will fill that role during the bowl season.

Lewis said nothing has changed in terms of the Wolverines’ defensive game plan and their aggressive approach.

And nothing has changed in terms of his approach. The awards are fine, but he is more interested in reaching 10 wins.

“It’s great to be an All-American at (a place with the) great storied history of Michigan,” Lewis said. “But there’s always something else to do, always some other work.”