MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Aubrey Lewis could not wait to join teammate Julian Pinnix-Odrick and possibly best friend Devin Fuller at Rutgers until Greg Schiano changed everything by taking a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Even in the confusion, Lewis still planned to walk on at Rutgers after assurances from assistant Jeff Hafley that his spot was safe.
Fuller told head coach Jim Mora about Lewis and showed him his film. Within 24 hours, Lewis had a preferred walk-on spot open with the Bruins.
"They've offered me the same deal as Rutgers, or better, and that's where I am now," Lewis said. "Devin and me are childhood friends. We've been best friends forever. He switched up and chose UCLA. I thought he was going to Arizona. I told him, ‘you know what Devin, that's not for me. It's far. It's not a place I see myself. I'm sticking with Rutgers.' Then all of a sudden, he picks UCLA and he's trying to get me to come with him."
Lewis will take an official visit to Rutgers before deciding. Initially planning a visit for Jan. 27, the Schiano decision pushed his visit back to February.
"I'm going to Rutgers for a visit and I'll probably make a decision soon after that," Lewis said. "I'm hoping to see that they really want me and that they're really serious about it. There's a family atmosphere about everything there and everyone is still tight, through the coaching changes. They're not letting the Schiano deal affect them.
"Devin has been my best friend since I was a kid, but Julian and I have been friends since I came here. Either way, I'm playing college football with a best friend."
Lewis emerged as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2012 as a freshman and sophomore , but multiple knee injuries turned him from a double-digit offer talent to fighting for a spot on a college roster.
"Shoot, my freshman year I started at the varsity level and made all-conference," Lewis said. "I was going all uphill from there. Sophomore year, I went for 1,600 yards rushing, 18 touchdowns. Every school in the area was looking at me, I was really excited. Then my junior year, I got hurt and missed the whole year. I rehabbed it to make my knee stronger. Then in camp this year, I took a bad turn and it slipped on me again. But now I'm back rehabbing and I feel better than ever."
Lewis turned down multiple scholarships at the FCS level with his Rutgers preferred walk-on spot on the table. Down to Rutgers and UCLA, Lewis just wants an opportunity.
"I'm blessed to have even a chance," he said. "I'm thankful that colleges are even still showing me interest. Rutgers and UCLA are both taking a chance on me and willing to roll the dice. Whoever gets me isn't going to regret it. I have something to prove."