JOE ASHER|Daily Enterprise
Harlan County senior Tucker Lewis signed to play football at Union College on Wednesday.
An Enterprise Staff Report
The determination and perseverance of Harlan County’s Tucker Lewis was rewarded Wednesday, as the senior signed to play football at Union College next season.
“We are excited that Tucker has chosen to further his education and play football at Union College,” said Union College coach Tommy Reid. “He has excelled both academically and athletically at Harlan County High School, and we know he is a great addition to our program. Tucker is a strong and talented football player who plays with relentless intensity, and we expect him to excel as a defensive player for us.”
Lewis earned a starting spot as a freshman, but ACL injuries forced him to miss all of his sophomore season and much of his junior year. However, Lewis wasn’t going to allow his career to end on the sideline. After his second rehabilitation process, Lewis came back to shine for the Black Bears last season.
“I admire Tucker’s leadership throughout his four years, including the time he was out with his injury,” said Harlan County coach Tom Larkey. “He has set the example to others; if you really want something bad enough you will go after. Tucker will make Union College a fine player and fit in with their needs. The Union College coaching staff will love him.”
Lewis helped to lead Harlan County to an 11-3 season, including the team’s third straight district title, a regional championship and a berth in state semifinals in 2012. As a senior, Lewis unselfishly moved from the middle linebacker position, where he excelled as a freshman, to defensive end.
“When I came back this year I wasn’t thinking about college football. I was in the earlier years, but I just wanted to make it through the season,” Lewis said. “I loved being healthy this year. I really enjoyed playing on the defensive line, but I came in with the mindset this year that I would play anywhere I could.”
In his final season with the Bears, Lewis recorded 78 tackles and an interception to earn Courier-Journal all-state honorable mention honors. Lewis is expected to transition back to linebacker at the collegiate level.
“They talked about dropping me back toward linebacker later on, kind of a hybrid end-linebacker,” he said.
The Bulldogs went 4-7 last season, including a 1-4 mark in the Mid South Conference.
“They really treated me good over there. It’s not too far and I felt I fit in,” said Lewis.