DL/LB Favors UM

The University of Miami has been making inroads to the middle part of the state in recent years. Lake City Columbia teammates Rashaun Jones and George Timmons signed with the Hurricanes this past season, while St. Augustine's Willie Cooper did last year.

The Hurricanes will be back in that part of the state this year and one of its top prospects is Daytona Beach Mainland's Matt Lewis.

The talented defender will be entering his third season as a varsity starter for the Bucs, who are coming off a Class 5A state championship season.

"Everyone's working real hard again," Lewis said. "A lot of the younger guys have been through the battles so they should know what it takes. We're looking good."

At 6-feet 1/2, and 235 pounds, Lewis is coming off a banner junior season. While playing on the defensive line, he ended the season with 101 total tackles and had 13 quarterback sacks. He had 19 sacks as a sophomore.

Lewis, who will likely play linebacker at the college level, is gearing up for a trip to the NIKE Camp at UM in a couple weeks. At last year's camp in Gainesville, he ran a 4.7/40, jumped 31 inches, and ran a 4.3/shuttle.

"I think I can improve on all three of those right now," he said. "I'm a little bigger, stronger, and faster. Me and (teammate) Avery (Atkins) are going to prove that we're two of the best players in the whole state. I want people talking about Matt Lewis as one of the best players in the whole country. I just have to prove it now."

Lewis, who also competes in track and basketball, has been playing football for 10 years now. He talked about his abilities as a player.

"The thing that I think sets me apart is that I pick up on things really quickly," he said. "People talk about my size and speed and those things but I think I'm different because I can see what's going on. I adapt quickly. Tell me something out there and I'll learn it then perfect it."

The talented linebacker prospect has been getting lots of attention from various college programs already.

"I'm getting letters from everyone it seems," he said. "I got about five shoeboxes of them. The ones I'm most interested in right now are UCLA, LSU, Miami, Florida State, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Michigan."

Lewis, who does not have any scholarship offers from any of his current favorites, said two programs stick out.

"Florida State was my favorite team growing up so it would be great to play there," he said. "But Miami's the place I really wanna go. If I have a chance, that's where I want to be. I just love their style of play. I think it fits me. They go all out every single play trying to make something happen. They fly around and make plays and that's what I'm all about."

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