IU freshman DT Damarjhe Lewis enters transfer portal

Indiana’s defensive line depth took a hit Tuesday as Damarjhe Lewis announced he was entering the transfer portal.

Lewis, a 6-foot-3, 301-pound native of Griffin, Ga., did not see game action as a true freshman in 2020, but he was considered in the hunt for snaps at the three-technique this season. IU is trying to replace a first-team All-Big Ten defensive tackle in Jerome Johnson.

“I’d like to thank Indiana University for the great opportunity and great time they have given me,” Lewis posted to social media. “But I’ve decided to enter my name in the transfer portal. I am excited to explore new opportunities.”

Lewis was considered a recruiting win for IU in the 2020 class. Once an Auburn commit, he had offers from schools like Penn State, Florida State, and Tennessee during the recruiting process.

When he arrived midyear, IU coach Tom Allen quickly mentioned Lewis as someone who stood out.

“Big-body guy who moves extremely well,” Allen said in February 2020. “We learned last year with (freshman left tackle) Matt Bedford, when you come in midyear, that increases your chances to be ready to play in the fall. So I think he’s a guy who really sticks out to me and our staff, as well.”

But then the pandemic hit, and Lewis was only able to get four spring practices under his belt. He didn’t see the field during a conference-only 2020 schedule, but Allen mentioned Lewis and C.J. Person as main contenders to replace Johnson and Jovan Swann at the three-technique spot. Demarcus Elliott, who has played the nose position, also took reps at three-technique this spring.

The defensive line’s depth has taken a few hits this offseason. Jeramy Passmore, a 6-3, 270-pound native of Miami, Fla., has also entered his name in the transfer portal. Along with the exits of Tramar Reece and Jalen Mayala, IU is down some bodies.

The NCAA is nearing final approval of a one-time transfer without sitting out a year, and Allen indicated last week the Hoosiers would aggressively look at possible additions from the portal.

“Looking at all those options,” Allen said, “to see what guys are in there and who will fit with us.”

21 comments

  1. I have to wonder IF Schools are recruiting ALREADY committed athletes to enter the transfer portal in order to “raid” them from the school they are attending.

    1. TJ,
      There is absolutely no doubt (in my mind at least) that recruiting kids will NEVER end with the new transfer rule in place.
      A new transfer to IU basketball recently admitted he was “recruited” by the IU coach, and I’m sure other schools are doing exactly the same thing.
      I’m not a fan, but it’s clearly the new “normal.”

  2. I am sorry to see him in the portal as he has a very quick first step but maybe his skills don’t match what IU’s defensive coaches want from the DL. It gives IU another DL position to look for in the portal an in recruiting for the future. IU is already low on DL players needing to add to that group and with two now in the portal it is getting to be a serious need.

  3. This is bad news, pure and simple. That’s the second highly rated/highly coveted player IU has lost this year. I’d love to know more about his motivations for making this decision. Was he homesick? Was he not happy with his place on the depth chart? Does a family matter require him to get closer to home?

    I was hoping the D-line would be greatly improved this season. Doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case.

  4. I have to say the current two leaving is about spring practice over and coaches meeting with players about where they stand. It could be something else going on but with the timing of the portal entries it is most likely they didn’t like where they fit with the team right now. Would like to have thought they could have worked hard enough to develop into players IU needed.

    1. I recall that some predicted big things for him, but he was never really in the mix from the beginning. Hope he finds a place where he can get a fresh start.

      1. Yes, I did because of his quick first step which is what I said. You never know how hard some will work or how hard they will hard they will play. I also recall how snarky you are to posters on here. We are fans without inside info and can only go by stories and video we find on the web. Once again I will have to ignore your post due to your snarkiness towards posters here.

        1. Wasn’t being snarky and didn’t mention you or anyone else. Found it interesting that one of our top kids didn’t seem to adapt very well. Wish him well and hope you have a better day tomorrow.

    1. He’s going to Purdue. Wonder how that quick first step will work there? Lol.

  5. I blame the NCAA totally for the portal BS. But coaches and AD’s will grow to make it a positive by using it as a solid recruiting resource. So let’s give the student/athletes the latitude of the portal but never start the practice to pay them.

    1. Well, he didn’t have much of a chance to get into the mix! Last year COVID prevented him from getting much practice and he was behind some older, more experienced guys. This year, TA was saying good things about him and then he suddenly enters the transfer portal. Age wise, he’s still young for a D-linemen. He has four years of eligibility remaining and was most likely going to get significant playing time this season. I can’t imagine him transferring because of his position on the IU depth chart. It’s got to be for another, more personal reason.

    2. Yes, the NCAA is 100% responsible. This is their way of making college athletics warmer and fuzzier. But what will this policy end up costing these young men and women in the long run? Will it enhance their mental toughness or teach them how to make good decisions? Will it help them develop character and resiliency by overcoming adversity? Will it help improve the quality of their education? I’ve always thought that pampering children does them a great disservice.

      As for recruiting, this policy opens Pandora’s box for all kinds of corruption and cheating that will be impossible to police.

  6. Remember that cop show from the ’70s…? They drove around in a red Gran Torino with a giant white racing stripe..? Snarky & Hutch? I think Bear Down is Huggy Bear.

  7. I just checked the DTs still in the transfer portal. Here are some names that might pop up on IU’s radar:
    1. Antonio Alfano – former five star recruit for Alabama, transferred to Colorado
    2. Malcomb Robsinson
    3. Deron Bey
    4. Emmit Gooden
    5. Nelson Jenkins (LSU)
    6. Josh Rogers

    There will probably be a lot more entering the portal now that the Spring camps are coming to an end.

  8. Homesick…LOL. Cousin…LOL…D.L. to Purdue is a very pure definition of traitor…let the 2021 football season competition begin.

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