Former Wisconsin running back Jeff Lewis will transfer to Illinois State and use his final year of eligibility in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Bloomington Pantagraph reported last week. Lewis is a 6'2, 210-pound tailback who had 33 rushes for 187 yards as a freshman for UW in 2011 and looked to have a promising career, but had just seven carries for 15 yards over the last two years.
Lewis is able to transfer and play next season. He will graduate from UW in May with a personal finance bachelor's degree before enrolling in a master's program at ISU in economics in June.
"I feel like it's the perfect fit for me," Lewis said. "It's where I see myself having the most impact."
"I learned a lot over the past four years at Wisconsin. That will help me tremendously going to Illinois State. The offense is pretty much a mirror image to what we ran at Wisconsin," said Lewis. "The academic program is second to none there. And the love the coaching staff showed me was unbelievable."
The Redbirds finished 5-6 last season with a 4-4 conference record in the MVC.
Lewis' transfer had been expected after Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen confirmed after the Badgers' April 12 spring game that Lewis was exploring his options.
"He wants to play tailback, and I think he's a tremendous kid," Andersen said. "I need to give him that opportunity to go play tailback somewhere his senior year."
Wisconsin remains strong in the backfield, as Melvin Gordon will enter his junior season as a viable Heisman Trophy candidate and Corey Clement returns following an impressive freshman season. The Badgers also have two incoming running back recruits in Caleb Kinlaw and Taiwan Deal.