BEAVERTON, Ore. - Five-star designations don’t mean much to Joseph Lewis when it comes to The Opening Finals.
Lewis, a wide receiver from Los Angeles, arrived at the Nike campus as one of the highest rated prospects on hand. He’s slotted at No. 11 overall in the latest Scout300 and is the top-ranked wide receiver nationally.
Heading to The Opening Finals, Lewis viewed it as an opportunity to back up his rankings. He started the process during light workouts with quarterbacks over the first couple days. Competition ramps up when the 7-on-7 tournament begins.
“I have to show what I’m capable of doing and what I can do against top DBs,” Lewis said.
College coaches have been convinced of his talent for some time.
Lewis lists scholarship offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC and Washington, among others.
Notre Dame hosted the 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect during the spring during a group visit with his 7-on-7 club. Since then the Irish staff has stayed in contact, most recently in the last few days.
Receivers coach Mike Denbrock and head coach Brian Kelly had a message ahead of The Opening Finals.
“Just come out here and show what I can do,” Lewis said. “Stay healthy. They’re planning to see me soon.”
Notre Dame finds itself in position with many other programs — duking it out for one of two remaining official visits. Lewis has visit plans already set for Nebraska (Sept. 17) and Oklahoma (Nov. 12). He’s working on a firm date to see Arizona.
Right now Lewis isn’t sure what other contenders could get those final two official visits.
“I’ve still gotta evaluate my options and see who I’m highly interested in and stuff like that,” Lewis said. “I’m gonna still look at the schools I have in mind and stuff. The two that stand out the most, I’ll most likely take an official to that school.”
Lewis also continues to consider local options, particularly USC, that don’t necessarily require and official visit. In terms of unofficial trips, he’s likely done for the summer with football season around the corner.
Nebraska recently hosted Lewis along with three other California prospects: Tristan Gebbia, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Bookie Radley-Hiles. Gebbia and Johnson are already committed to Nebraska. Radley-Hiles, a four-star cornerback in the Class of 2018, remains uncommitted.
During the visit, Lewis took away a positive vibe.
“It was the coaches and the players,” he said. “When I got there the coaches were very welcoming and stuff. The players … they were very welcoming. We had talks and they were good talks and stuff.”
Moving forward, Lewis plans to take all his visits into close consideration before making a decision. That part of the process won’t come until winter, barring a change.
“I’m planning on making an announcement maybe at the Army game if I’m comfortable then,” Lewis said. “If not, I’ll wait until signing day.”