Stats – 909 attempts, 5,012 yards, 44 touchdowns; 25 receptions, 126 yards, one touchdown
Accolades – All-American in 1988, Consensus All-American in 1990, No. 21 all-time rushing yards list, Offensive Player of the Year in the SWC in 1988 and 1990
Team signature moment – Won Southwest Conference title in 1987
Darren Lewis is not just one of the best running backs in school history, he’s one of the best college football players in the history of the game, though he never seemed to get enough credit for it. Although more due to circumstance than slight, Lewis was the first player in history to rush for 5,000+ yards in a career and not win the Heisman Trophy (a few have done this since).
It was clear from the get-go how much talent “Tank” had as a runner. He was key to the 1987 SWC Championship team and went on to have the second and third-best rushing seasons in school history with near identical rushing totals of 1,691 and 1,692 yards.
His record was only broken in 2018 when Trayveon Williams rushed for 1,760 yards. Lewis was also a Consensus All-American as a senior. Lewis’ career rushing attempts and yards are No. 1 in school history and ranks No. 2 in rushing touchdowns.
Life after college football would prove to be difficult for Lewis. He tested positive for cocaine at the NFL Combine and slid down draft boards. He eventually went to the Chicago Bears in the sixth round, though reports claim they didn’t know about the drug test, or were trying to draft another player with a similar name (either way, not a great look for Chicago).
He struggled with his addiction and was released by the Bears after being arrested on assault and battery charges. He’s currently spending 25-30 years in prison for armed robbery.