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Joseph Lewis returns from injury and identifies frontrunners

Joseph Lewis, the No. 15 overall player in the Scout 300, returns to action for the first time since significant injury. He also may be down to a final two schools.

The nation’s top wideout just couldn’t resist the urge. 

Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins receiver Joseph Lewis was supposed to wait. He had come to San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the same time as all of the healthy players, but wasn’t yet supposed to be on the field practicing. But watching was too tough.

Being a competitor, Lewis wanted to be on the field proving his ranking as the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2017 class. 

“Sitting and watching everybody out there made me want to play and practice with them, so I was just like I've got to come practice,” Lewis said. “I can't be the only person that's just sitting down and stuff. I was going to go until it started hurting. The second practice during routes it kind of started, so I sat out and just took a break.”

Lewis is still not fully recovered from a fractured ankle that occurred late in October when he landed awkwardly after he leapt over a defender in the fourth quarter of a game. After initially having a full length cast stretching from his foot to his mid thigh, Lewis had been in a boot until recently and hadn’t done any full speed work.

“I've been training with STARS ever since I got out of the cast,” Lewis said. “But I just run somewhat full speed.”

Even though his participation will be limited to what his ankle allows this week, Lewis wants to see how he stacks up with the nation’s best. He is trying to prove why he is one of the top recruits in the nation.

He has been recruited like one of nation’s best, but with National Signing Day approaching soon, he is closing in on his final choice. Lewis has official visits scheduled to Arizona State on January 13 and USC on January 27. He said a wild card school could slip in and earn an official visit during the weekend between those two trips, but he doesn’t have any schools in mind at this moment.

Though he plans to head to the desert to visit the Sun Devils, Lewis seems to be down to two schools.

“Yea. It's mostly USC and Nebraska.”

Lewis visited Nebraska and Oregon during the season and the Huskers have been pushing hard for a handful of high-profile recruits in Southern California. They also recently added cornerbacks coach Donte Williams, who has Los Angeles connections and has been recruiting Lewis since the 6-foot-2.5, 200-pound receiver broke onto the scene earlier in his high school career.

“Nebraska is a good place. I like the coaching staff and now that they've added on Donte, it's higher because Donte recruited me when I first started to San Jose State then to Arizona and now at Nebraska.”

Heading to Lincoln, Neb. would be a big geographical move for Lewis while his other top school, USC, is literally right down the street.

“Me and Coach Tee Martin, we've been close ever since I started too,” Lewis said. “We've built a great relationship.”

The conversations between Lewis and USC’s offensive coordinator have focused on the Trojans’ offense and where Lewis would fit in as a freshman. That’s one of the things he wants to learn when he takes his official visit to USC right before National Signing Day.

“Like how would I help contribute and stuff, the offensive scheme and what type of offense they run,” he said. “Just want to see what they have to offer. Since it's like down the street from my house like will it be considered another local home.”

Lewis was looking forward to watching USC play in the Rose Bowl to see how they play against another conference. It doesn’t hurt that the Trojans are playing a team from the same conference as Nebraska.

“Just want to see them just be SC and do what they do best.”

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