A Saturday scrimmage for Rutgers football was the perfect case study for a top quarterback target. Rutgers showed off its overhauled offense for recruits in attendance, and the activity reminded Johnathan Lewis of his experiences at Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep.
Lewis runs a similar power-spread for the Marauders, and sees a potential comfort in the Rutgers offense.
“The practice was a high-intensity day and the tempo was fast,” Lewis said. “The quarterbacks that were there were the same ones from last year, and it was more difficult for them to adjust. With me, my team already goes through this. We do the same thing at Prep offensively, so it’s the same fit there.”
The Rutgers transition to a power spread includes a new offensive coordinator in Drew Mehringer and different fitness approaches.
“I liked the coaching staff and got to bond with them before and after practice,” he said. “You could see the difference from last year. Last year’s linemen were heavier. Now they’re more lean and quicker. It’s easier for them to move with the no huddle.”
The most important part of Lewis’ visit came after practice when his family sat down with head coach Chris Ash.
“[Ash] got to hear my family’s points on going to Rutgers and how coach Ash thinks about me,” Lewis said. “He talked about how I’m the starting point for Rutgers with their 2017 class. Once I come, more big recruits will come.”
While Ash was aggressive in his interest, he did not push Lewis for a commitment.
Lewis visits Ohio State next and plans to decide “in the late spring to mid summer.”
“I didn’t really feel pressured to commit at all,” Lewis said. “He said, ‘you can do what you want but the ideal place for you is here.’ It was nice. The difference is I have a connection at Rutgers. They don’t just talk to me one day and that’s it. Ever since the new staff came, they talk to me weekly and see how my family is doing.”
Rutgers has one St. Peter’s Prep star incoming soon with defensive back K.J. Gray.
“He tells me how great it is,” Lewis said. “He’s not actually there yet but he’s still there every other day telling me about what’s going on.”