Impact Report: Drew Lewis

Back in September, Dawgman.com's Scott Eklund watched Drew Lewis tear up Inglemoor for over 200 yards and three touchdowns. His words were, "Keep an eye on him the rest of this year as he'll get plenty of looks from Pac-12 schools this coming spring". Truer words were never spoken, as Lewis would end up with four Pac-12 scholarship offers by the time of his commitment to Washington in late June.

What kind of player is UW getting? - Drew Lewis could be considered a bit of a throwback, back to the time of earlier local Huskies like Nate Williams and Evan Benjamin - tough two prep two-way standouts that would eventually make their mark at Montlake on defense. Lewis isn't blessed with top-end speed but he's got plenty of quicks for his 6-foot-2.5, 195-pound frame. His length and ability to play in space is something that has made Lewis a coveted prospect. More than anything, Lewis is a product of good genes and a solid football background. His father Will was a five-year pro in the NFL and USFL (currently the Kansas City Chiefs Director of Scouting after leaving a 14-year stint in the Seattle Seahawks' front office), and older brother Ryan is currently a freshman cornerback at Pittsburgh. Like Williams and Benjamin, Drew Lewis has already played a lot of high school football for Eastlake and understands the game as well as anyone his age. He's been groomed for this from an early age.
What kind of linebacker does Lewis project out to be for Washington? - It's clear with Justin Wilcox's move to more of a 3-4 base defense he wants rangy athletes who can run downhill into the box to support the run but can also get sideline to sideline in a hurry and use their length against spread teams that want to use the whole width of the field. Starting with Travis Feeney in 2011, Cory Littleton in 2012, and Connor O'Brien and Keishawn Bierria in 2013, the move toward recruiting either defensive backs or rangier linebackers to handle the edge as REB's, WILL's, or SAM's has been fully joined. Lewis, who plays in the secondary for Eastlake, was given a look working out with the linebackers and UW LB Coach Peter Sirmon, and that's when the light went on. Once the Washington coaches got a glimpse of Lewis and his potential moving to linebacker, that was enough to offer the Eastlake star, an offer he quickly gobbled up. At near the same size as Feeney at the same age, Lewis has the frame to add 20 good pounds without breaking a sweat. I'd expect Lewis to be 6-3 and 220 by the time the Huskies need him full-time in 2015.
How does Lewis' commitment impact recruiting numbers going forward? - As it has been documented numerous times since Signing Day, Washington isn't expected to sign more than 17 or so unless they have a rash of unexpected attrition - either through academics, injury, or both. With seven known verbal commitments (including Lewis), they only have 10 spots (give or take a couple) to work with. Keishawn Bierria, Sean Constantine, Travis Feeney, Princeton Fuimaono, Jamaal Kearse, Scott Lawyer, Cory Littleton (REB/DE), Connor O'Brien, Shaquille Thompson, John Timu, Thomas Tutogi, and Azeem Victor are the scholarship linebackers expected to be on the 2013 Fall Camp roster. That's 12, and two of those 12 - Fuimaono and Tutogi - will graduate after the 2013 season. If you count 2014 UW commit Don Hill as a linebacker (same as Littleton), then that would suggest it would be a straight two-for-two swap in numbers. With players like Joey Alfieri (Portland (Ore.) Jesuit) and Curtis Bolton (Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta) high on the Huskies, I could see one more linebacker taken for 2014, but not more than one - if the current numbers stick as they are.
Will Lewis' commitment stick? - Obviously that's the next relevant question. "I'm going to try and make it out to Pitt and Oregon State at some point this summer," Lewis told Eklund the day he committed to Washington during their recent Rising Stars Camp. "Oregon State was sorta my runner-up and Pitt is a program I have a lot of respect for, so I want to still check them out, but I'm happy with my decision and I'm planning to be a Husky."

Obviously he has family ties to Pitt and he told me during the Northwest Elite Camp that he can always get out there to visit Ryan, so that's always been in the cards. I wouldn't be surprised if Lewis did sneak a visit down to Corvallis just to confirm his decision, but who knows what Washington's reaction to Lewis would be if he wanted to take official visits to those schools. I just have a feeling that Will Lewis - especially with as much experience as he has in the game - would not advise his son to make a snap decision or rush into something without having thought about it first. Drew alluded to the fact that the Washington offer was the one he had been waiting for, so it was clearly in the back of his mind when Sark handed down the good news. I think this one sticks without much maintenance.
Keeping the local studs home - Ah yes, the dreaded 'Fence' returns. Not quite. Until Washington gets back to winning 9-10+ games a season, there will always be holes in said recruiting fence. But it's still important to make sure the local guys know they are wanted at home, and that's just one of the reasons Lewis' commitment should be seen as a popular one by UW fans. Like Williams and Benjamin before him, Lewis is a solid character kid, was raised in the game and brings a lot of versatility to the field. Washington is battling tooth and nail with other Pac-12 programs to keep kids like Budda Baker home, and having local prospects like Lewis make the decision to stay may not necessarily sway someone like Baker it's certainly never going to hurt. They understand what it's like to play football in the area and what it means for the communities that support them.
Drew Lewis Junior Season Highlights

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