Jordan Lewis made it sound simple, like anyone can do it.
"Just maintained my speed," Lewis said. "If you maintain your speed, you can gain what you want to gain, you've just got to keep that speed up. So that's what I did, I maintained my speed. I kept my speed up while I was gaining weight."
The not-so-simple part of the equation was this: Lewis maintained enough speed, as he played linebacker and defensive end in high school, to become a state track champion in the 110-meter hurdles for Trinity Catholic High in Ocala, Fla.
"I was playing that before I did track, (so) it was all natural to me," he said.
So it probably wasn't much surprise to Lewis, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound Southern University defensive end/linebacker who is set to represent Team Robinson in the second HBCU Legacy Bowl on Saturday at Yulman Stadium on the Tulane University campus, that he burst onto the college scene the way he did.
Specifically, he was named Freshman of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association in 2018, when he totaled 12 sacks, forced one fumble and recovered one, scored a touchdown and had six quarterback hurries.
And he went a step further in 2021, when the Jaguars played a five-game spring season due to postponement and rescheduling of the fall season attributable to Covid precautions. Lewis had 10.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, six quarterback hurries and 27 tackles en route to winning the Buck Buchanan Award, presented to the most outstanding defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), and earning the Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year Award, presented by the Black College Hall of Fame.
Lewis hopes his speed and tenacity have turned heads this week, as the 100 Legacy Bowl players audition for pro football roster spots.
"It's a good opportunity," he said. "We're out here to get exposure. Coming from a smaller school, all the NFL teams are out here representing so you get exposed. It's a great experience.
"It means a lot. Coming from a small school, an HBCU, just not getting much exposure, not many players getting drafted, so just coming out here and having this opportunity – not just me, for everybody here – all the hundreds of players just having the opportunity to show their talent in front of all the NFL teams, XFL teams, CFL teams, no matter what, it means a lot."
Lewis will approach the Legacy Bowl the same was he has approached every other game.
"Just going out there and doing what I do best, playing for my team, playing for my mom," he said. "Giving all I've got."
Photos from HBCU Legacy Bowl practice at Tulane's Yulman Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.