Practice Tour: Jamar Lewter

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- A year ago, Jamar Lewter was heading into his junior season with a lot of uncertainty. After sitting out his sophomore season, the 6-foot-8, 280-pounder was moved from tight end to left tackle.

"I didn't like it at first," Lewter said. "I thought, basically, the colleges went for the skill positions – people that catch the ball, make plays, and score touchdowns."

On the contrary, the move improved Lewter's recruiting stock, according to Moses Ware, Ballou's head football coach.

"He has long arms, left-handed, and is flexible," Ware said. "When you see somebody that's athletic enough to play tight end make the adjustment to the left tackle position, you know he's special.

"You take a lot of the running that he was doing at the tight end position and put it at the left tackle position. He's able to get to the second level – and even the third level sometimes – in the run game. It's kind of hard to find a kid that does that."

Lewter was moved to offensive tackle out of personnel need.

"Me, selfishly, I wish I had enough linemen where he could play tight end – I still think he could play tight end," Ware said with a laugh. "But we had a need at tackle.

"It was a war at first, but he eventually came around and he did what was best for the team."

The move immediately paid dividends for Ballou. The Knights' offense averaged over 41 points per game, and the team went 9-2 and played for the DCIAA Championship.

"[Moving Lewter to left tackle] made our offense take off," Ware said. "He has a very good understanding of our zone blocking scheme [and] protection issues were never a concern of ours again."

Having Lewter protecting the quarterback's blindside in Ballou's spread no-huddle gives Ware one less item to worry about.

"A lot of times, if we have protection issues, we'll just load up the other side or load up the middle," Ware said. "A lot of times we can slide the protection away from Lewter, understanding that he can handle the edge rushers on his own.

"We put a lot of pressure on him. But I think it's a pressure he wants and deserves, and he does a good job with it."

Last season, Lewter was also reserve defensive lineman. He'll start at the four-technique in Ballou's 3-3 stack defense this year.

"His job is occupation [of blockers]," Ware said. "Keep a lot of pressure off our linebackers [and] allow our linebackers to roam. And also he gives us a chance to free up in our blitz package."

With Lewter starting on both sides of the ball, eight starters returning on defense, and a three-year starter at quarterback, Ware expects Ballou to be playing for the championship again this season.

"Every coach, at this point in the season, has the same expectations," Ware said. "But we have some people on this team that can help us with those expectations."

This season, though, Lewter plans to actually win it all. Last year, the Knights lost in the DCIAA title game, 30-26 to Woodson, a team they beat during the regular season.

"I told [our starting running back] we need to do what we can to move this team to the championship and win," Lewter said. "This year we don't want to have a repeat of us having a great season and not finishing off big."

In early July, Lewter woke up one morning and decided to verbally commit to North Carolina, the school he had been favoring since the winter.

"[Since committing], I've been focused more on my grades [and] helping the team out," Lewter said. "Hopefully I can get myself together and be ready to get down to North Carolina and make some big moves."

Lewter is not qualified, but is working hard towards that.

"My tenth grade year, I didn't play because of my grades," Lewter said. "So I fell off. But my coaches tell me if I come strong this year, finish off my senior year strong, and do well on my SAT I should be in good shape. And that's what I've been doing so far – keeping my grades up so that won't be an issue."

Despite his commitment, Ware says Lewter's recruitment hasn't slowed down. Schools like Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Illinois, USC, Rutgers, and Temple have continued to pursue him.

"Schools are still coming after me – still writing me letters and trying to get me to change my mind," Lewter said. "But I know I'm coming to Carolina."

UNC is the only school Lewter plans to visit. He expects to be in Chapel Hill "very often" this fall as he attempts to attend as many home games as possible. In particular, he's looking forward to the Clemson and Virginia Tech games.

Lewter says he speaks to a UNC coach every day. Most of the time, it's John Blake, his primary recruiter, but he also speaks regularly with Sam Pittman, the Tar Heels' offensive line coach.

"We just discuss things," Lewter said. "They want to know how I've been."

Pittman projects Lewter as a left tackle. Jamar Lewter Profile

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