Middletown (N.J.) Mater Dei wide receiver Eddie Lewis is one of the top wide receiver prospects in the East. He visited Syracuse for the first time last Thursday, and left with a strong impression of the Orange.
"When I was on the visit and we first got there, they took us into the main building," Lewis said. "Where the weight room was at and the team meets. I walked in and mostly all of the coaches were there. They greeted me, said hello and told me how good of a player I am. That's one thing I did like about it. I got there and it felt like everybody was on board.
"I felt welcomed. That's the main part about it."
The visit was not just about checking out Syracuse. It was also about finding out where things stand with an offer, as he did not have one when he arrived. That would change before heading home, however.
"I was in a meeting with the head coach, coach (Dino) Babers," Lewis said. "It was me and my other coach. We were sitting down and having a conversation and things like that. He was talking about the school. He said to me this is not a talk about recruitment, it's talk of facts. He said, 'I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do to make this school a different place and make it better. How you can do big things in the offense if you decide to come here.'
"It was just how good he's going to make this and how he's going to change the program with him and his staff. That's how it came about. He kept saying I could do this and I could be the type of player, if I came in and worked hard and did what I need to do, I could come in and be in this position. Once that was done, he said, 'I wanted to tell you that you have an offer.'"
Two things stood out about Syracuse on the visit besides feeling comfortable on campus. The facilities and the coaching staff. He loved the new indoor practice facility and was impressed that they also had outdoor practice fields. The weight room also impressed the 6-foot wideout.
In addition, Lewis was able to bond with the Syracuse coaches. He spent a lot of time interacting with them and feels like it's a good fit on and off the field.
"It was really fun," Lewis said. "Every coach has the same plan. They're all on the same page and that's what I really liked about it. They all know what to do and how to get the players in there that they need. How to make that change at the school.
"They told me they like that I'm very versatile. They like that I can play inside or outside. That's one thing they liked about me. They'll use me in multiple positions if they need to. They like using guys out of the backfield, and I could be that guy because I can make certain cuts."
After picking up an offer and seeing what Syracuse is all about, Lewis put the Orange among his top schools when he trimmed his list. There were very specific reasons why SU stood out enough to be included.
"They actually made my top five," Lewis said. "I feel at home there. Every school that's in my top five, I feel at home. That's the main thing. I want to go to a school I feel at home at. I want to go to a school for four years that I don't have to think twice about the decision. The other part is the education part.
"Every school in my top five has a good education plan for not only me but for everyone else on the team. Also, the last part is the football part. I want to go to a school where I know I can win games, where I can have fun. Every school, including Syracuse, it seems like I'm going to have a good time there."
The next step for Lewis is to narrow his list of five down to three. Those three schools will receive official visits during his senior season, and he will make a decision after taking each trip.