Rutgers middle linebacker Kaiwan Lewis will be one of the participants on Friday in the New York Giants workout of local 2016 NFL Draft prospects. The Pleasantville, N.J. native is taking his shot at a career in the NFL. Perhaps, though, the most important work of Lewis's life will have nothing to do with football.
Lewis has a degree in Criminal Justice and intends on going to Law School to become a defense attorney. He has also already been heavily involved in community work with young people, something he is passionate about.
"I love to do community work. I actually held my first camp two years ago in my town. That was big. I've done a whole lot of things over the years. I'm just a big community guy, try to get in touch with the youth," Lewis said during a recent phone interview.
"It is very important. You can be good but to be great you've gotta bring other people with you. If you bring other people up with you it helps that next generation break the chains of the negative things that go on."
Lewis, unfortunately, has been touched by those "negative things that go on." His older brother, Bilal, was killed in a 2014 shooting. Lewis told Draft Diamonds that his brother was his "role model growing up."
He now tries to use his brother's death as motivation.
"It just impacted me to go harder in trying to achieve my goal in playing in the NFL. I don't want to be stuck in the same city that that happened in," Lewis said. "I want to try to better my life and move forward from that and go further in life."
Lewis played for three years at South Carolina, transferring to Rutgers, his hometown school, after his brother's death.
Here is more from the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Lewis, who did not receive an invite to the Combine but did attend the College Gridiron Showcase.
"I feel like I'm an aggressive downhill linebacker, a physical linebacker. I like to get to the ball and attack the ball carrier. A smart ballplayer who takes pride in getting everybody aligned, getting everybody on the same page before the ball is snapped.
"I'm a high-IQ guy and a physical player. "
What about your pass coverage?
"I've been playing a lot in man-to-man coverage ... I played a lot in space. Playing in space isn't hard for me, whether it's pass coverage or just open-field tackling."
What NFL players do you model your game after?
"I'm similar to Vontaze Burfict in the way that he plays as far as being physical, downhill, and just being a field general. ... I know how to keep my temper ... my comparison to him would be the style of play."
What do you know about the Giants' linebacker situation?
"I know their linebacker situation is light, there's not a lot of depth for them right now so I know that's going to be a position of need this year. I see a lot of opportunity there, a chance to compete."