Muskegon (Mich.) High has a long tradition of producing great football players, and the next elite level prospect to come out of the Big Red's program appears to be junior running back Juwan Lewis. The 5-11, 200-pound Lewis has already generated a lot of mailings from college programs.
Among the schools that have sent mail to Lewis in the last month are Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Iowa, Navy, Purdue, Western Michigan and UCLA.
"Coaches have been keeping in touch, but I haven't really been reading the letters," Lewis admitted. "I've been letting my dad talk to the coaches and I've been more focused on the season, the team and what we are doing right now. Right now it's not much of a concern to me; I'm more concerned about the season and I know all the letters are going to be there afterward."
Lewis did give attention to his recruiting process prior to his junior season. He started to evaluate some of the schools he had an interest in and took part in a college camp.
"Recruiting-wise, I have been really interested in Ohio State and the University of Michigan," Lewis said. "I went to the University of Michigan football recruiting camp and was one of five other running backs who got MVP for the group. The coaches were very impressed."
Lewis has a long term approach to his recruitment and has an open-mind going into the process. He plans to be deliberate and evaluate each option thoroughly before deciding.
"I will take my time, think about it and get other people's opinions about it," Lewis said. "When I go to a school, I just look at how the atmosphere is, how the school is rated football-wise and key players for the team. I ask myself whether I would fit in there system and can see myself playing here.
"Regardless of how I feel about a system, if a team likes the spread, then I am going to have to get used to the spread. If a team likes the veer, then I'm going to have to get used to the veer. If they like an I-back, I'm going to have to get used to I-back. I'll run anything a program runs; there isn't a system in particular I prefer."
Lewis has been timed in the 4.4 range for the 40-yard dash, but he actually runs at fullback for the Big Red in an offensive system similar to the one run by Navy head coach Ken Nuimatalolo. Although the fullback position does not allow him to generate the statistics he would as a tailback, he likes the responsibility placed on him in that role.
"I haven't been trying to keep track of my stats because I don't want that to get in the way of me running the ball," Lewis said. "As a fullback, it is a big responsibility. That's the main part of the offense besides the quarterback. If the linebackers and the safeties are keying on the fullback all night, that opens up opportunities for everyone else to get the ball and gain yards."
Lewis excels in other pursuits besides football. He carries a 3.8 GPA in the classroom and is also a standout sprinter on Muskegon's track team. As a junior his top 100 meter time was a 10.7 and he clocked a 21.9 in the 200 meters.