The first thing that jumps out at people is the legacy factor. He is the son of one of the all-time greats at the University of Miami, Ray Lewis. When Al Golden got the Miami job, he talked about his desire to have former players more involved -- on the sidelines of games, at practices, and things like that. Well, in this case, he decided to offer a scholarship to the son of one of the best players to ever wear a Hurricane uniform.
It's not a bad decision, at all. At 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Lewis might lack ideal size for a major college running back but he's not a small kid. He's not considered a scat back. His 2,300-plus yards last season show that he can go between the tackles at the prep level, as well as taking things outside. He has tremendous instincts as a running back, using good vision and understanding of how to use his blockers most effectively.
He doesn't just run the football, either. He's a complete back. He'll block. He'll catch passes from the backfield (14 receptions as a junior), and he is a danger as a return specialist. He's also a talented defender and was very productive on that side of the football. One of the things you look for when evaluating small school standouts is how often they're on the field. Because of the small number of players on the small school teams, the best players are usually asked to do a lot. In some cases, they do and do it well. That's what Ray Lewis does at Lake Mary Prep. There's absolutely no question that he's the best player on the field every time they play -- on either team.
Lewis plays small school competition near Orlando and isn't asked to play against the bigger, city schools. He still grew up playing Pop Warner against those same kids and still competes in various camps against those players. There's no reason to believe he wouldn't be very successful if he were playing against a tough 8A schedule in Florida.
He's a three-sport star (basketball and track in addition to football). and you can just see the natural athleticism when watching him compete. He doesn't have blazing speed but he's plenty fast enough for someone his size -- especially for someone who has such good instincts that help him play faster than his 40-time might indicate.
Lewis is the unquestioned leader of his team. His coaches love him. He's an excellent student who excels in AP-level courses. He has the intangibles you look for in a major college prospect.
The Hurricanes signed two running backs in the 2012 class and they now have two committed for the 2013 class. Golden and his staff are doing a very good job of filling that position with playmakers who will all provide plenty of competition for each other. Lewis is the latest in that group.