Melvin Lewis takes a different road to shine for Kentucky

Kentucky senior defensive tackle Melvin Lewis was a 12-game starter last season but appreciates more being the first male in his family to graduate from college.

Melvin Lewis never forgets where he came from.

The massive 6-foot-4, 332-pound senior defensive tackle for Kentucky relishes the chance to compete each week in the Southeastern Conference following his upbringing in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton. It's a hometown that often ranks among the 10 most dangerous cities in the United States, and there are not a lot of father-son moments that Lewis can recall.

"I went through a lot as a child," Lewis said last week at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. "My father (Vernon) was in prison for about 25 years throughout his life. He was on drugs until I was in high school, but even though he went through all that stuff, he never turned his back on us.

"I can't thank him enough for that."