Bloomington – Kellen Lewis has played his final game for the Hoosiers.
HoosierNation.com has learned that Lewis has been dismissed from the IU football team for violating unspecified team rules. Indiana University confirmed the dismissal in a press release tonight.
“We are disappointed to have to make this decision,” IU Coach Bill Lynch said in a prepared statement. “When you have expectations of those on your team that are not met, you need to do what is ultimately in the overall best interest of your program.”
Lewis’ exit is the final chapter in a career that included a meteoric rise early on, and now an equally dramatic fall. After shattering virtually every school passing and total offense record as a sophomore, Lewis’ last 13 months have included a four-month team suspension, a sub-par junior season, a position switch, and now his dismissal from the team.
As a fifth-year senior, Lewis doesn’t have the option of transferring to another Division I school to resume his playing career. With only one year of eligibility remaining, the Jacksonville, Fla., native’s only option is to enroll at a D-II school if he wants to extend his collegiate career.
The 6’1”, 185-pounder finishes his IU career ranked No. 2 in school history in total offense (8.072 yards), No. 3 in passing yards (6,395) and No. 1 in passing touchdowns (48). He also owns the school’s single season marks for passing yards (3,043), passing touchdowns (28) and total offense (3,779), all set during his sophomore season when he helped lead the Hoosiers to a 7-6 record and an Insight Bowl berth.
But after that record-setting season, things began to unravel for Lewis. He was suspended indefinitely before the start of spring practice in 2008, and according to numerous sources came extremely close to being dismissed permanently at that point. While the reasons behind that suspension were never spelled out, he admitted to a lifestyle that included “too much partying.”
Lewis was reinstated shortly before the start of fall camp last July, but he was a shell of himself in the nine games he started. He threw for only 1,131 yards and six touchdowns in an injury-riddled season that saw him split time with Ben Chappell, and the Hoosiers took a huge step backwards during a 3-9 campaign.
Lewis’ final season in Bloomington was supposed to be at a new position, as the IU staff moved him to wide receiver before the start of spring practice. Lewis showed steady improvement as the team’s No. 1 slot receiver during the spring, culminating in a five-catch, 52-yard performance in the spring game. While he was expected to spend most of his time at wideout in the fall, IU was also sprinkling in some offensive sets where Lewis would line up in the shotgun and be used as a run/pass threat as well.
In another prepared statement, IU Director of Athletics Fred Glass supported the decision to dismiss Lewis.
“Today’s action underscores that no individual student-athlete, regardless of talent or popularity, is above the expectations of Indiana University,” Glass said.
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