Article on USC verbal Rob Lewis

Click below for a feature story from the Daily News on Montclair Prep star Rob Lewis who has given a verbal commitment to the Trojans

from the Daily News:

HEAR HIM NOW
Montclair Prep's Lewis turns up the volume
By Vincent Bonsignore
Staff Writer

Robert Lewis is finished being Mr. Nice Guy.

The USC-bound linebacker at Montclair Prep of Van Nuys has been reluctant to get the attention of his teammates by speaking up, or out. But with the Mounties at a crossroads after losing Friday to Paraclete of Lancaster, Lewis is turning the volume from mute to loud and clear. 

Teammates, beware.

"This is a business, it's not about getting your feelings hurt or worrying about hurting someone's feelings," Lewis said. "We've all got a job to do, and we all have to start focusing on that. It's time for us to all get on the same page."

This is like music to Monclair Prep coach George Giannini's ears.

"He's on record as being the best football player on our team, so it's a natural for him to be recognized as our leader," Giannini said. "The thing about Robert is, he's such a nice guy and a little bit on the quiet side. He isn't real vocal. But we've definitely wanted him to be more of a vocal leader."

The turning point for Lewis was the loss to Paraclete, in which the Mounties (5-2, 1-0) took a 10-0 lead but surrendered 19 points in the fourth quarter and lost 28-16.

"We thought we had that game won, and we let up," Lewis said. "We fell apart."

Even worse, Montclair Prep wore down. Lewis couldn't accept the mental letdown and apparently inadequate conditioning.

"We have to get in better shape so we can sustain our energy and finish teams off," Lewis said. "I don't care how we have to do it, but I know I'm going to make sure we work as hard as we can on every single play in practice. We can't let this happen again."

Lewis won't single out a player; he talks solely about the team, not individuals. And he understands the Mounties are at a disadvantage because most of their players must play both offense and defense, especially the linemen.

The wear and tear was bound to catch up to Montclair Prep. It just happened to come against Paraclete.

"We have a small roster, I understand that, and it holds us back sometimes," Lewis said. "But we just have to work harder in practice to get in better shape."

That, and focus on the same goal.

"Individually, we do well," Lewis said. "Now we just have to do it better as a team."

This is a big year for Lewis, who wants to start his USC career with some momentum from a successful senior year with the Mounties.

No matter what happens, Giannini believes Lewis is ready to move on to college. Giannini said he wanted to see Lewis display a better feel for the game coming into the season and the player hasn't disappointed him.

"Everybody (in college) can run and hit, and Robert can definitely do those things," Giannini said. "To set yourself apart and be successful, you have to know how to play the game, how to break down plays and get yourself in position to make plays. Robert has definitely improved in those areas. He's ready."

And now he's ready to speak up.


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