(AP) - Growing up, Deon Lewis wanted to be like Deion Sanders.
The Ozen High School senior admired Sanders’ football skills, his upbeat, charismatic personality and liked the fact they shared the same name.
An ACL injury in August likely ended Lewis’ chances of emulating Sanders on the football field. To cope, the defensive lineman turned to his other passion – videography.
He created his own YouTube channel – aptly named “Primetime Dimes” as a hat tip to Sanders’ nickname, “Primetime.”
Lewis started posting videos daily after his injury. Most centered around his energetic reactions to various sporting events.
“I like being in the spotlight,” Lewis said. “Whether it’s on the football field or in front of a camera or anywhere. That’s just who I am.”
He’s gained more than 200 subscribers on YouTube since August and was recently approved to make money from his videos.
Ozen football coach Ed Taylor is not surprised that Lewis has generated such a following, adding the teen has an “electric and infectious” personality.
Taylor believes Lewis, who was hurt during practice, would have earned a football scholarship if he’d had a strong senior season.
“I cried a lot and was definitely down after I got hurt,” Lewis said. “Doing videos and starting my YouTube channel helped me realize there were other ways I could express myself.”
As word spread around campus about Lewis, Ozen Principal Donna Prudhomme called him into her office so she could watch a couple of his videos with him.
Prudhomme was impressed and asked Lewis to become the host of the Ozen Network, a group that creates school-themed videos.
Lewis had his two school periods dedicated to football transferred to video production. He now spends two hours a day working on videos.
College football is still a possibility for Lewis, who said he’s had some interest from Division II schools. Unfortunately, Lewis isn’t expected to fully heal until March.
He wants to major in film in college and said that will have an impact on where he goes to school next.
“I’ve got two plans for my future,” Lewis said. “Whether it’s football or doing videos, I’m glad I’ve got two and I’ll let things happen as they happen.”
In the meantime, Lewis is going to keep making videos.
“I’ve had a chance to watch a couple of Deon’s videos,” Taylor said. “They’re entertaining and he’s keeping them classy, That’s important and I’m proud of Deon.”