“Ever since I started playing football, I had those expectations,” Lewis said. “It never got to me. I learned very young that expectations don’t make a football player. You just got to go out and play and how I know how to play, give 100 percent, listen to the coaches, lead the team, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as I give 100 percent effort, I know I’ll be OK. You can’t let that get to you. I just go out and play and have fun.”
Currently a junior at Lake Mary Prep High near Orlando, Fla., the 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back dreamed of playing college football when he was little. He dreamed of one day becoming a Miami Hurricane, just like his father, Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis. And on Tuesday of this week, that dream became more of a reality.
“Miami offered me a scholarship on a visit I took down there and I committed right away,” he said. “It’s where I’ve always wanted to be. They made me the offer and I said 'Yep, I’ll take it.' I was with my mom and dad and it was just a great experience.”
Lewis took the visit to Miami to spend time with the coaches, watch practice, and get a general feel for what it’s like to be a Miami Hurricane.
“Really, everything was perfect,” he said. “I felt like home. I looked at the practice. Everyone was having fun. Everything was basically what I was looking for. It’s a very home type atmosphere.”
His father playing at Miami surely had an impact on him and his desire to one day be a Hurricane. However, his mom played a key role in that decision too.
“Ever since I was born, it’s always been Miami in my family,” he said. “My mom and dad both went to Miami. Since I was little, I bled orange and green. As I got older, I started to feel like I need to keep my options open, taking other schools into consideration, just in case. I was looking at all schools. Something about Miami, it just seemed perfect. It’s been what I’ve been dreaming of since I was little.”
Despite growing up a child of two parents who both attended the University of Miami, Lewis says the decision to become a Hurricane was his own.
“When I was little, that played more of a role on why I liked Miami but as I got older, it didn’t play as big a role,” he said. “I can’t base my decision on a school for me on where my mom and dad went. I didn’t really look at where they went. They were always going to be an option. Whichever schools I like, I was going to look at their recruiting class, what they want to play me as, things like that. They always had an impact but they didn’t really have an impact on my decision because they went there. I made this decision on my own.”
Lewis, who had more than 2,500 yards of total offense last season and 30 touchdowns, is very excited about the direction of the Miami program under coach Al Golden. He says that played a key role in his decision to commit to the Hurricanes, despite UM facing potential NCAA sanctions in the near future.
“Coach Golden, at this time, it might have been the best thing that could happen,” he said. “He’s a great person, very disciplined. I like his goals, how efficient he is. He knows what he wants. Coach Golden, people look at Miami as a trouble making school, the football players but Coach Golden has done a great job of changing the way people look at Miami. People aren’t getting in trouble since he took over as coach. All of his goals and what he wants to do are going to be accomplished and I believe that.”
For three years back in 1993-95, the Hurricanes enjoyed one of the most storied football players to ever play the game. And now they’ll get to enjoy his son in the coming years.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “My parents and I are close. They stress academics and doing the right things off the field. To be able to play where my dad played and attend the same school that he and my mom once attended, like I said, that’s going to be a dream come true.”
And for the Hurricanes, they’re getting a dream come true type of player and person.
“He’s an outstanding football player,” Lake Mary Prep coach Buck Gurley (a former NFL player himself) says of his star running back. “But, that’s not all. He’s a great leader, a great person, and a great student. He’s the total package.”
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