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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Football defensive captains speak on offseason

Tre’Jon Lewis and Anthony Shockey intend on improving throughout summer training.
Tre’Jon Lewis, a redshirt senior defensive lineman, thinks his biggest improvement is his quickness and speed on the football field. (File)

After the 2024 Spring Game on April 28, along with graduate quarterback Pierce Holley, redshirt seniors Tre’Jon Lewis and Anthony Shockey were named captains for the 2024 season.

Lewis, a defensive lineman from Manor, Texas is in entering his third year with the Panthers after playing three years at Texas Tech University. Shockey, a linebacker from Lombard is entering his sixth season with the Panthers.

Lewis and Shockey both shared their personal goals, how it feels to be a team captain, and how they define the “We Not Me” mentality.

Q: How has practice been so far in the offseason?

Lewis: “Summer workouts have been going pretty well. Coach [Jacob] Hillman has been doing a great job bringing in new workouts for us. The guys and I really enjoy his workouts, and we feel like they make a great impact on our bodies and our overall health.”

Shockey: “It’s honestly been really good. A lot of growth and great work [are] getting put in with the guys.”

Q: What game are you the most excited for?

Lewis: “I’m excited to play Illinois State because due to my injury (a high sprain ankle injury), I wasn’t able to play in that game last year. It’s always an interesting game when we play them and it’s a great rivalry.”

Shockey: “Our schedule is exactly what I would want it to be for my last season. I’m looking forward to every game this year.”

Q: What improvements have you been seeing in yourself?

Lewis: “I feel like I’m moving quicker than I have before. I am getting bigger, and I got big pretty fast, so it was harder to move last year. Even though I’m still gaining more weight, I feel like I can move better with it. I feel like I got my quickness back.”

Shockey: “I’ve definitely improved in my conditioning. Coach Hillman has brought a conditioning program over to us that has helped me along with my teammates to the next level of getting our bodies in shape.”

Q: How do you feel like new players are adjusting to the environment?

Lewis: “I feel like they’re adjusting very well. They know what they’re getting into when they get here. We’ve also been doing a lot of team activities, like having cookouts and going to the pool so they can get more comfortable with the team.”

Shockey: “The new guys are fitting right in. They’re getting acclimated with the community and with the way we do things here at Eastern. The guys are transitioning fast in learning our lingo and our day-to-day activities.”

Redshirt senior linebacker Anthony Shockey (5) feels honored to have been named a captain for the 2024 season. (File)

Q: Who’s someone that you’ve seen improve a lot since the end of last season?

Lewis: “Chris Sharp. He’s actually a walk-on cornerback and played a little bit of special teams last season, and this spring, he made it up to the top of the cornerback room. He’s improved a lot throughout the spring.”

Shockey: “Luke Wagner for sure. He has been a guy that always has his head down and works. His offseason thus far has been eye opening due to his numbers out on the field and the weight room.”

Q: What are your personal goals this season?

Lewis: “I want to be First Team All-OVC, and I want to be an FCS All-American. Other than that, I want to win a ring.”

Shockey: “I don’t really have a personal goal, but I’ve wanted to win the OVC since I’ve gotten here, so that is something we are striving for this season.”

Q: Define the “We Not Me” mentality.

Lewis: “The ‘We Not Me’ mentality means that you have to put the team above yourself. If we all just think about ourselves on the field, nothing will ever happen, but if you do it for the brother that’s next to you and have the same trust in each other, then we’ll be unstoppable. In a way, everybody is doing it for the guy next to them, the coaches that put all the work in, the trainers and the media that put all the work in.”

Shockey: “Everything we do is for each other. We’re a family at the end of the day.”

Q: How does it feel to be a team captain?

Lewis: “It’s very humbling. Knowing that [my] teammates think of [me] in that light, it’s very humbling. It pushes me to be the best I can be to lead this team to win a championship.”

Shockey: “I’m extremely honored to be a caption. I’ve been at EIU for some time now, so it’s a role I won’t take lightly.”

Q: What is the best piece of advice anyone has given you?

Lewis: “My head coach from Texas Tech, Coach [Matt] Wells, told us ‘Don’t live life by how you feel.’ If you live life on how you feel, then everything is inconsistent.”

Shockey: “What you focus on you [will] find.”

Q: What do you think your strengths and weaknesses are as your defensive position?

Lewis: “I think my strength is my knowledge of the game and my experience. The game has slowed down for me enough so I can see what’s coming before it even happens. My weakness is that I analyze so much, and if I analyze too much, then I slow myself down and it ends up not being the right decision.”

Shockey: “I’m currently developing my knowledge of the game from route concepts to offensive tendencies. I would say it’s both a strength and a weakness. It’s something I know I have to get better at, and I have put my focus and intent on it thus far this offseason.”

Q: Knowing everything you know now, what would you tell 10-year-old you?

Lewis: “I would tell 10-year-old me to stop being lazy and go to the weight room. I was small, and coming out of high school, I was 195 [pounds]. I would tell myself to eat more and go into the weight room.”

Shockey: “I would tell 10-year-old me to be consistent. Being consistent with habits that align with your goal is what sets you apart.”


Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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Zaria Flippin
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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