According to receivers coach Stan Hixon, the 6-foot-1, 199-pounder is as good as advertised.
“Eugene Lewis is a player who came in for us and we really had high expectations for him,” Hixon said. “The more we saw in him, he really didn't disappoint us. With Geno playing quarterback his last year in high school, being converted over to a receiver, his athletic ability is kind of off the chart. So he's shown a great deal of improvement of just being a receiver -- running routes, catch the ball, he has tremendous hands.”
Lewis was so good in the preseason that the staff nearly decided to play him as a rookie, even though he was changing positions.
“It was really a tough decision because up until the week before the first game, he was kind of running second group, second team,” Hixon said. “So it was kind of headed in that direction. He was alternating with the second group and getting a lot of reps.”
So why the redshirt?
“Just some things as a coach that you know from the long-range plan that you can tell he's there, but he's not there yet,” Hixon said. “He's gonna come. But he wasn't ready to really get it to the next step.
“Now, obviously, he travels with us every week,” Hixon added. “That is so if someone got hurt, he could have been in the mix. But we've been fortunate no one has missed any games. It was a tough decision. But for the big picture, he's gonna be a much, much better receiver. He needs the time invested at that position as opposed to playing as much quarterback as he did.”
Lewis is so good that he usually plays upcoming opponents' best receiver on Penn State “Dirty Show,” or scout team. He also spent time back at quarterback, playing the part of Ohio State's Braxton Miller prior to the Lions' game with the Buckeyes.
“Geno Lewis, the defensive guys talk about him every day, what a good job he does,” Hixon said.