It didn’t take long for wide receiver Geno Lewis to earn a nickname at Oklahoma. A graduate transfer from Penn State, the senior is being labeled “grandpa” and “old man” by the rest of the receivers with the Sooners.
No, that’s not an indicator of OU not accepting Lewis into the fold. It is a term of endearment as Lewis looks to provide some much needed leadership and experience for the Sooners in 2016.
He has only been on campus a couple of months, but early returns indicate Lewis and OU seems to be a perfect fit.
“You could tell in our winter workouts with the way he runs and how powerful he is,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “You could tell he’s competed at this level. A guy that’s been on the field, competing at a high level and playing well, he gets out here, and he’s ready for it.”
All Lewis had known in his life was Pennsylvania. He grew up there and was a Scout 100 wide receiver for the 2012 class and stayed home with the Nittany Lions.
But the word Lewis stressed was opportunity. He was looking for one, and when he found out OU was definitely interested, the wheels began turning.
It wasn’t the first time Lewis had been through this process as he said he did essentially the same thing when transferring to another high school for his senior year.
Going to Norman has been a bit of a culture shock, but he has on complaints through the first couple of months.
“It wasn’t that hard, the transition,” Lewis said. “It wasn’t too bad. I came in, and the players, the coaches, they accepted me really well right from the beginning.”
Lewis had his high school coach start asking around toward the latter part of the 2015 season to see if any schools were interested. Once he got his release from Penn State, Lewis said the first coach from OU he talked with was Cale Gundy before eventually talking to Dennis Simmons, Lincoln Riley and Stoops.
The decision was obviously a tough one. Going halfway across the country for one year based on hope an opportunity isn’t easy, but Lewis is glad he did.
“I don’t know much about anything outside of Pennsylvania,” Lewis said. “I was there my whole life. Leaving for the last year is hard because of all the relationships you build, but I thought it was the best opportunity for my family.”
Lewis said there were other schools in the mix, but since it’s in the past, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters now is being in Norman, and his first taste of Norman was a little bit different than what he experienced in State College.
He had to get acclimated to the weather off the field and the speed of the game with the Sooners offense on the field.
“From what I’m used to, the speed is a little different,” Lewis said. “One thing I had to adjust to getting here. They play fast. The offense is fast. We have some fast players. I think the adjustment to that was the hardest thing, but I’m up to part on that now.”
One of the first things Lewis did when deciding to transfer was do his research. He had to know what he was getting into. With Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal both graduating, OU gave Lewis the opportunity to come in and play as a senior.
It certainly didn’t hurt to have someone like Baker Mayfield return at quarterback. It hasn’t been a long period of time, but Lewis said he already understands what it is about Mayfield that has made him so successful.
“He’s a dog, man,” Lewis said. “He’s a competitor. He works hard every day, and you can tell he’s got that chip on his shoulder. He goes out there and competes every day. I’d go to battle for that man any day.”
With Mayfield, comes a talented but young group of receivers. Lewis said when he arrived in Norman and saw the receiver group already on campus, he was excited. There’s a lot of potential, and he’s willing to help in any way he can.
“I like being the older guy, somebody to talk to, look up to and things like that,” Lewis said. “It’s find what they’re calling me. I know I got a lot of miles on these legs.”