Leo Lewis named freshman All-American

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

After leading all Southeastern Conference freshmen in tackles, Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis was named to the 2016 Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team, the organization announced prior to Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

The SEC and Big Ten each placed six players on the 34-member team, while the Pac-12 and ACC had five players from their respective conferences. The 12-person panel of nationally-prominent writers represented each of the FBS conferences along with independents in selecting the team.

Lewis, a native of Brookhaven, is the first Bulldog to ever be named to the FWAA Freshman All-America Team, which was established in 2001. Lewis accumulated 79 tackles in his debut season — 30 better than the next closest freshman in the SEC. He ranked 13th among all players in the league in tackles and added 4.5 tackles for loss.

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Lewis’ tackle total was the highest by an MSU freshman since Benardrick McKinney had 102 in 2012. McKinney is now the 11th-leading tackler in the NFL and a starter for the Houston Texans.

Lewis started all 13 games this season and recorded two double-digit tackle contests, including a season-best 12 at BYU.