It’s not an easy task to get the No. 1-rated player at any position to sign with a school.
Tennessee’s staff has proven it can finish the task as it’s inked Scout five-star prospects such as Kahlil McKenzie and Preston Williams that topped all of the competition.
Butch Jones & Co. have more of a foot in the door with another No. 1 as Joseph Lewis made his way to Tennessee’s campus last week “just come to see what Tennessee has to offer and just to get over here with my teammates and just get a different experience from different places.”
“What made it different was of course the weather and the coaches and stuff because (Tennessee defensive quality) coach (Derek Day) and (wide receivers) coach (Zach Azzanni),” said Lewis, who tripped to Knoxville with five-star prep teammate Jalen Hall. “They were very welcoming and very energetic to get us out here. We finally came out here and had a good vibe with them and stuff. So, it was like a real good experience here.
“The video they showed us of ‘Wide Receiver U’ video (was most surprising). It was very interesting to see all the receivers that were here and the progression that they did.”
The nation’s premier pass catcher in the 2017 class said he could find a home in what Tennessee does schematically.
“I think I can relate to it and stuff and just to fit in,” Lewis told InsideTennessee. “Another thing was a good relationship with the coaching staff, and I like the offensive coordinator (Mike DeBord) and to see what plays would they run and to see if I can adjust to it.”
Some suggest that Lewis will leave the Golden State for college.
“Arizona and Nebraska are talking to me the most. Oregon is getting into the mix and Oklahoma as well,” said Lewis, who plans to officially visit each of those four.
The 6-foot-2 ½, 200-pounder said Tennessee has a chance to get an official visit.
“Coach Day was talking about the Alabama game, and I might check it out because it’s a real big game. So, I might come,” the five-star from August Hawkins (Calif.) High School said.
Lewis mentioned that the sheer size of Neyland Stadium surprised him. The Vols’ home holds at least 15,000 more than each of the four schools of which he spoke.
After visiting Rocky Top, the Los Angeles resident planned to see Arizona and Boise State.
Bus, car, plane or train, the Californian says distance from home doesn’t factor into his decision.
“That’s not a big deal at all because sometimes I want to go explore my options and see what other people have to offer and stuff,” Lewis said. “Maybe I’ll go somewhere out of state.”
In 2015, Lewis caught 51 passes for 852 yards and eight touchdowns.