Rutgers has a new offensive coordinator, which means the start of another quarterback battle tomorrow morning at spring practice No. 1. The competition, however, begins without one of its key players in place.
While incoming freshman Johnathan Lewis will not compete with the other three this spring, the Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep star will do whatever he can to stay on even footing.
“I know I'm going to compete,” said Lewis, who enrolls at the end of June. “It's not overwhelming at this point. The information comes little by little. Whatever the quarterbacks are getting from the new offensive coordinator, coach Jerry Kill, I'm getting that, too. Every time they get something, I have to learn it, too. I'm only behind with my (college) experience.”
Lewis visits Rutgers on Saturday's to train with other members of the 2017 class. He also spends time with the active roster during their off time.
“I'm getting a lot of information,” Lewis said. “There's a lot of stuff I need to learn before I get there. It's very rewarding. I get to learn how fast a guy is, how fast he comes out of his breaks, the timing we have to get down. I've learned a lot from the few times throwing with them.”
Signing Day in the past allowed Lewis to “slow down” from the hysteria of recruiting. He also build a stronger relationship with Kill.
“Coach Kill is a great coach,” Lewis said. “I've been doing more research on him and talking to him. His history is great. He's coached Heisman candidates. He has great systems. He even as a good record as a head coach.”
Lewis will be at every Saturday practice, and plans to train on campus after he graduates in early May. An essential leader in the 2017 class, Lewis plans to actively recruit the next wave of St. Peter's Prep stars.
“I just tell them what everyone told me., what KJ (Gray) told me, the coaches told me. What's the point of leaving? Play in front of friends and family and you could go home every weekend sounds pretty good to me.”
Lewis is clear about early playing-time goals. Who does he look forward to as weapons in the passing game?
“I'm excited to play with everybody, to be honest,” Lewis said. “One thing, I grew up watching the Mitchell brothers, Damon and Ahmir, play. They're really good. I can't wait to play with them.”