Lewis Connecting With Gator Staff

St. Joseph Hammonton (NJ) four-star middle linebacker Kaiwan Lewis is the top target for the Florida Gators at the position. At 6-2, 225 pounds he is already big enough to play in the SEC and will no doubt get bigger before he arrives on a college campus and when he gets in a college weight program. His intangibles have the Gators pushing hard and Lewis likes the vibe from the Gators as well.

Kaiwan Lewis will take part in the original ‘The Opening' camp this week along with 150 of America's best high school seniors. It is an experience he is really looking forward to.

"No plans for the (holiday) weekend, we are flying out to Oregon on the 5th for "The Opening"," Lewis told Fightin' Gators Saturday. "I am excited to get down there and see some other top guys, compete out there, and do my best. It is a chance of a lifetime and I am happy to have the chance."

He plans on visiting a ton of schools in the next few weeks and no doubt the process has been a busy one for Lewis, but he is still having fun with it all at this point in time.

"The process is fine, but I am going to have to get out there and take more trips," he said. "I have a lot of visits this summer. I plan to hit all the schools down south before I come back to school. I plan on visiting Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Tennessee, try to get to Auburn, Georgia, and I might go see Georgia Tech as well.

"I am wide open looking at everybody, but once I see all these schools in the next two weeks that will probably change."

With all of the travels, one thing Lewis is hoping for is that he will make Florida's big camp day on July 22nd. It may work out if he can stay for a few days.

"I am coming in two days before Friday Night Lights and hopefully I can stay for Friday Night Lights," he said. "I am just going to be moving around a lot."

As far as the Gators go, they are certainly a team he is looking hard at.

"I am really, really into Florida," he said. "I like the coaches and am really looking forward to seeing the place. I talk to pretty much every coach on the staff. They came up to see me and I just have a great bond with that staff."

Florida linebacker coach D.J. Durkin has been recruiting Lewis for a while and is one of Lewis' favorites in the process. Durkin and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn have bonded well with the big backer.

"I talk to Coach Durkin and Coach Quinn the most," Lewis said. Durkin is an energetic linebacker coach. I feel real comfortable with him and I know he definitely wants to coach me. On the sidelines at the games he gets real hyped. He loves the University and I know he is a fun guy. He is also easy to talk to.

"Coach Quinn is a straight forward guy and came from the NFL. He is definitely one of the guys that I have bonded with. We talk often and I probably talk to him every week."

Florida head coach Will Muschamp has also made an impression on Lewis. The fact that Muschamp is a defense first guy seems to play big in his mind.

"I talked to Coach Muschamp a couple of times," Lewis said. "I like him a lot because he is going to bring that defensive mindset to the whole program. He wants the players to buy into what he is selling. If they aren't going to buy into it, the players aren't going to be there. He has dismissed a couple of players already. He wants you to buy into his program and he lets you know up front either ‘you are with us or you're not'.

"I am a defensive guy and he was a defensive coordinator at Auburn and Texas and I just love that about him."

The Gators are in need of a bigger linebacker with only Jon Bostic on campus that fits that description.

"They are recruiting me at MIKE linebacker and I want to play linebacker," he said. "What they need now is a bigger linebacker. Jelani Jenkins is a 6-3 speedster linebacker. Jon Bostic is pretty big but once I get in there in that weight program I will probably be bigger than him probably pushing 245."

"Muschamp wants me to be a great addition and says I am the number one MIKE linebacker because of the size and speed that I am going to bring to the position."

New Jersey Is a long way away, but distance in this case is absolutely no factor in his recruitment.

"Distance is not a problem because my family is from the south. I have family in South Carolina and Georgia as well. We can't put a distance limit on the University of Florida… its SEC football."

Florida certainly has everything Lewis is looking for, but he will be looking everywhere to find that perfect fit. He tells us exactly what he is looking for in a program.

"I want to go to a school with some tradition," he said. "There is a lot of tradition at my high school. I also want to go to a school that has a good social life because college is supposed to be some of the best years of your life. I want to have great people around me and be able to be successful academically.

"With football, I want to have a great relationship with the coaches and the players they are bringing in."

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