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Arizona State runningback Deantre Lewis, left, runs past Portland State safety Manoa Latu, to score a 62-yard touchdown in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Deantre Lewis is getting his wish.

"I want to play defense," he said Tuesday after practice, his first as a defensive back. "I've been wanting to play defense for awhile now. I guess it's a new era for me."

The old era remembers Lewis as a highly-recruited running back out of Southern California who rushed for 539 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman in 2010.

However, he redshirted last season after being injured in a shooting, and now has found himself behind Cameron Marshall, D.J. Foster and Marion Grice along with James Morrison in a full stable of running backs.

The Sun Devil secondary has no such issue---quite the opposite, really; plus, the defensive side of the football has always appealed to Lewis.

"You just feel like you just go wild," he said. "Especially after my shooting, I have a lot of anger built in me. I feel like I can use it on my opponents and hitting them and stuff. I feel like that's a good move for me."

Lewis has not played defense since high school and even then, did so sparingly.

"My junior and senior year (the coaches) only used me for like big plays, like when it came down to the wire at the end of the game, so not very much."

Lewis though said he never hesitated when he was approached about making the switch.

"I said, 'Yeah, of course.' That's something I wanted to do coming into ASU. Right now, I just feel they're giving me my shot. I'm going to take advantage of it."

Even after only one practice, head coach Todd Graham -- who lists depth in the secondary as a major concern, came away impressed with Lewis.

"He could really help us," Graham said.

Lewis is being worked in on nickel and dime packages.

"Oh, yeah, I'll be prepared," he said when asked if he would be able to contribute this week at Missouri. "I'm a smart football player when it comes down to it. I'm pretty sure I'll have it down."

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