Oregon worth the wait

Javes Lewis may have taken the long road, but he is happy to be heading to Eugene next week after accepting a late scholarship offer from Oregon just last month.

"I had some offers from some small schools like Idaho and San Jose State", Javes Lewis said, "but I was going to play for Santa Ana Community College instead." Lewis was academically eligible but was hoping that some better offers might come his way after playing for a year at the junior college.

At 6-1 and 180 pounds, coach John Neal had recruited the Tustin High School product as a safety. When Oregon filled their shopping list early at his position, Javes didn't hear from Oregon anymore. Coach Neal apparently assumed that Lewis had accepted another scholarship offer until the Duck secondary coach ran into Javes in May at Santa Ana Community College doing some one on one drills. Javes was impressive and faster than the coach remembered. He has been timed at 4.45 in the forty. Suddenly, John Neal started pondering Lewis' potential to play at cornerback.

Neal discussed the idea with Javes' high school coach and analyzed more of his game tapes. Finally in late June Javes Lewis took an official recruiting trip to Oregon, ironically at the same time that a group of previously signed freshman football recruits were arriving for summer school.

Lewis loved the visit, loved the facilities, and happily accepted a scholarship offer during a private meeting with head coach Mike Bellotti.

Javes added, "I really like coach Neal and I am excited that he is my position coach."

Lewis decided to withdraw from the Orange County All-Star game because he has been working out and wants to be ready to compete when he reports early to Oregon next Friday, July 20th. One reason Javes attended the game was to support his new friend, wide receiver Rishard Matthews. Rishard didn't qualify to enroll at Oregon and will play the next two years for Santa Ana Community College, the same place Lewis nearly ended up. However, Matthews did have a message for Duck fans, "I'll be there", in reference to his goal to eventually play for Oregon.

Maybe the two friends will be reunited down the road.


L-R: Rishard Matthews, Javes Lewis and Eddie Pleasant

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