NASHVILLE, Tenn. -The Vanderbilt Commodores are officially on the board for their 2011 football recruiting class. Technically, the Commodores have been on the board for a couple of weeks now but on Thursday, Arlington (Tenn.) High School offensive lineman James Lewis said publicly what he told the Vanderbilt coaching staff three weeks ago: He is a Commodore.
Lewis picked up the Vanderbilt offer in mid-April and it only took him a month to realize that Vanderbilt was the right fit for him.
"Vanderbilt's a good school," Lewis said. "They're doing great things down there. It's a great education. They're an up-and-coming football team and when I went down there on a college visit it just seemed like a great place to fit in. The coaches are very friendly and I talked to some of the up and coming seniors that are playing and some of the incoming freshmen that are playing and they're doing some good things down there."
Along with the Vanderbilt offer, Lewis had picked up another official offer from Illinois. He also had received serious attention from around the SEC and had seen schools such as Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Kentucky among others make spring visits to his Memphis area school to get an eye on him.
Despite his relative proximity to the Vanderbilt campus, the SEC program isn't exactly a home-town school for Lewis. He and his family have lived all over the country throughout Lewis' childhood so the school selection was more about feel than location.
"Location wasn't really a big factor," he said. "I went down there and the atmosphere was great. I was born in Nashville but it was just the atmosphere and the people down there are very friendly."
This weekend, Lewis has been able to get back to Vanderbilt's home city but has been spending most of his time on a different college campus. He's been at David Lipscomb University for a team camp for his high school basketball team. Lewis has been playing both sports since he was five years old.
"Most definitely basketball helps me," he said. "It helps my footwork. It makes me quicker and it helps me with my agility and speed."
Despite his time on the hardwood and his love for basketball, football is his game and he knows it. This summer will be the first year he takes off from AAU in order to focus on football as he prepares to play either guard or tackle in the SEC.
"I'll play either guard or tackle," he said. "It depends on how big I get. If I don't get any bigger, I'll be a guard. If I get taller, I'll stay at tackle."
Already Lewis stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 275 pounds. It's easy to see why so many other schools were interested. Though the Commodores may have gotten a steal early, Lewis isn't ready to complete shut down his recruitment.
"I'm going to some camps over the summer and then I still have my five official visits and I'm going to see if I can get those taken to walk around campus and check those schools out," he said.
Despite those plans, Lewis only has one college camp scheduled so far and that will be Sunday's camp on the Vanderbilt practice fields.