Tennessee football career rushing leader No. 5: Jamal Lewis (1997-99)
- 2,677 rushing yards
- 17 rushing touchdowns
- 5.5 yards per rush
After a legendary freshman year in 1997, Lewis looked destined to be an all-time Tennessee great. He ran for 1,364 yards and seven touchdowns that year, but in 1998 his season was cut short by a torn LCL in his right knee. Tennessee still won the national championship without him.
The injury held him back in 1999 as his yards per carry dropped from 5.9 as a freshman and 6.8 as a sophomore to 4.5 as. a junior. He still eclipsed 1,000 scrimmage yards in his final season and the NFL was undeterred by his previous injury.
Lewis was selected fifth overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2000 NFL draft and ran for 1,364 yards as a rookie, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. Lewis ran for 102 yards on 27 carries in Baltimore’s 34-7 Super Bowl victory over the Giants. He lost the 2001 season to a knee injury, but it still didn’t derail his career.
In nine seasons between Baltimore and Cleveland, Lewis rushed for 1,000 yards seven times, but 2003 was by far his best year. He finished as a first-team All-Pro and the Offensive Player of the Year with 2,066 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.