There were plenty of people who thought Kapron Lewis-Moore’s career ended on Oct. 22 last season, in a 31-17 loss to USC. When an MRI revealed that the medial collateral ligament in his right knee had become detached, the Notre Dame defensive end’s season was over. And his future was murky at best — could he recover fully? Would he get approved for a fifth season? Would freshman Aaron Lynch take his job for good?
It was a particularly painful Senior Day last year for Lewis-Moore, who had started 24 straight games for the Irish until his injury, even though the Irish edged Boston College 16-14.
But on Saturday, Lewis-Moore will get his senior moment — and he’ll do it as a starter, a captain, and a key part of the top scoring defense in the nation on an undefeated team chasing a national championship.
“I’m pretty excited about that,” Lewis-Moore said. “Obviously, I was pretty upset not playing last year. I think it’ll be fun running out on that field on more time and playing with my brothers, and have my mom, family and friends up there. It’ll be exciting.”
Lewis-Moore never doubted he’d be back. But even if couldn’t have imagined a scenario quite like this.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I really didn’t envision it. I’m a competitor, I’m a fighter, and no matter what the situation was, I was going to do my thing. I know a lot of people counted me out and everything, and everybody was real high on… whatever. Things happened and you can’t really dwell on the past, you just gotta appreciate where you are right now.”
By “whatever,” Lewis-Moore meant Lynch, a person whose name is rarely — if ever — uttered by the Irish players in the wake of his abrupt departure from the team over the offseason. Lynch’s transfer to South Florida was seen by some as a critical blow to the Irish defense. So to be atop the national rankings — both as a team and as a defense — is particularly sweet for Lewis-Moore, who wasn’t sure this day would ever come.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “The one thing that keeps me going is you can’t really forget where you came form. Thinking about those lows when we first got here and just seeing this thing grow, seeing this program grow, it’s just something amazing.”