Class of '12 Star Already Knows Rutgers Well

Teams from across the country are already checking in with St. Joseph of Hammonton, N.J., class of 2012 defensive end/linebacker Kaiwan Lewis, but he knows Rutgers better than any of the others. In fact, Lewis attended a spring practice, and believes an offer will be coming from Rutgers on Sept. 1. Lewis had plenty to say about Rutgers, and his recruiting process. Find out more by going inside.

While other schools are just getting becoming familiar with defensive end/linebacker Kaiwan Lewis of St. Joseph (Hammonton, N.J.), the class of 2012 burgeoning star is already well acquainted with Rutgers.

So much so Lewis is expecting an offer from the Scarlet Knights on Sept. 1, the first day juniors-to-be can receive offers.

"I've been talking to Rutgers for a while now, so I can believe that offer is going to come,'' Lewis said. "They said nothing is going to be set in stone until Sept. 1, so I'm guessing that means an offer could be coming.''

A starter since the first game of his freshman season, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Lewis already has a strong relationship with the Scarlet Knights coaching staff and visited the campus. He was at a spring practice and took a tour of the football facilities.

"That's a great school,'' Lewis said. "When I went into the Hale Center, they have everything for football. And they have everything academic-wise. There's no reason you should be academically ineligible. They've got computer rooms, tutors for every subject, and I like that. That shows me I could stay on task at that school.

"I know I'm not going to be a football player forever, and I'm going to have to give it up one day, and I need a job and a career. I have to look at not only the near future, but also the far future.''

However, it is not just Rutgers talking recruiting.

Florida asked Lewis to make an unofficial visit in late July, and he recently scheduled an unofficial trip to South Carolina for July 20. Vanderbilt is also showing him interest and Temple is told him a Sept. 1 offer was a strong possibility.

"Right now I'm just having fun with it. It's a great experience,'' Lewis said. "You get to meet a lot of new people. You get to see a lot of different lifestyles, and as far as football-wise, you get to see how different organizations run their programs.''

How a program recruits Lewis, and the vibe he gets from the coaching staff, will play a large factor in his decision.

He wants to feel the urgency and importance a school has in trying to entice him to commit.

"I don't want to fall by the wayside and go to a school where I'm not a big commit to them,'' Lewis said. "I'm also looking to go to a place with early playing time. I don't mind red-shirting a year. I'll sit my freshman year, hopefully see some time my sophomore year, and I really want to get into it my junior year.

"I don't want to be one of those players who has to sit all the way to my senior year.''

The recruiting process is bringing new experiences to Lewis.

"My second visit to Penn State, that surprised me,'' he said. "I went up there thinking, ‘I'm just a regular recruit.' One of the fans asked me for my autograph, so imagine what it would be like if I actually went to school. That was pretty interesting. It was crazy. I thought it was a joke at first.''

Indeed, Lewis obliged and signed the autograph, and many more could be in his future.

Lewis made 65 tackles and registered 9½ sacks as a sophomore. He bench presses 320 pounds, but the biggest change in his game is his speed. Last year he finished the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds, but after spending the offseason working on his speed, he recently clocked in at 4.76 seconds.

"I had the strength already, but the speed was something I had to work on,'' he said. "This year, I kicked in the squats a lot.''

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