Interest Increasing

Morgantown High School defensive end Junius Lewis has received three scholarship offers over the past couple of weeks, and more could be on the horizon.

"It's kind of a surprise, because I didn't expect these offers at all this early," the well-spoken rising senior said. "I am extremely excited about it."

Minnesota began the offer string a couple of weeks ago, which wasn't surprising considering the ties the Gopher coaching staff has to the area. Defensive coordinator David Lockwood is a Mountaineer alumnus who played at WVU from 1985-88 and coached for one year (2000) at his alma mater in Don Nehlen's final campaign, while defensive line coach Carey Bailey is a Morgantown High graduate who also coached at WVU from 1993-94. In Lewis, they saw a quick defensive end with great potential for growth and improvement, and thus became the first school to offer.

Then, last week, both West Virginia and Georgia Tech made official offers, bringing the total to three. They aren't likely to be the last, either, as Michigan has been showing increased interest, and could join the list of schools seeking his services in the near future.

As of now, West Virginia is at the top of Lewis' list, but another school that has been showing interest could displace the Mountaineers if they offer. Lewis admits that he has been a lifelong fan of Florida State, and that an offer from the Seminoles could easily send him to Tallahassee. However, for the moment, his hometown school has the lead in the ever-changing recruiting derby.

Lewis has already mapped out his summer camp schedule. He will attend a Nike camp the weekend of May 5, then travel to school camps at West Virginia, Penn State and Michigan. He will use those trips to gather further information about each school, and doesn't appear to be in any hurry to make his college choice.

"I think I will take my visits and find out if I really like the coaches and learn as much as I can about each school," he noted. "If I really like it, and get along with the coaches, I will end up committing there."


Lewis' teammate, quarterback Charlie Russell, verballed to West Virginia last month, and is already serving as another recruiter for the Mountaineers.

"He told me to get on the bandwagon and come with him," Lewis said with a laugh. recruiting coordinator Bob Lichtenfels loves Lewis' upside.

"I think he could even end up moving inside on the defensive line," Lichtenfels said. "He's a high motor guy, and goes all out on every play. We were really impressed with him at the combine. He gets in the backfield and puts a lot of pressure on the offense."

Lewis' father, also named Junius, played basketball at West Virginia, and could be an asset in the Mountaineers' pursuit of his son. He is one of two adults that the younger Lewis is leaning on during the recruiting process.

"My dad and [former West Virginia defensive back] Willie Edwards are my two greatest influences," Lewis admitted. "I talk with them a lot. And on West Virginia's team, I talk to Jason Colson a lot too. He says his experience at WVU has been great."

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