Family Guy

Many high schoolers look at college as an opportunity to get away from home. In the case of one future Mountaineer, he won't have to go that far. In this exclusive interview with, Junius Lewis talks about his recent verbal committment to WVU.

The Morgantown High defensive end has blossomed into one of the state's top prospects for the class of 2007. After an impressive showing at the combine in Durham, collegiate coaches from across the college football landscape began to take notice.

The first school to offer Lewis was the University of Minnesota from the Big 10. Next up was an offer from Chan Gailey's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. With his impressive size (6'3" 265 lbs.) and standout performance at the combine, more offers were certainly in the works. There was one offer, though, that could give him what he really wanted. When his hometown West Virginia Mountaineers extended a scholarship, Junius didn't need much time to make his decision.

"Family," he responded when asked what factor played the biggest role in his decision. "I'm all about going out and doing new things, but I'm really close to my family so that was a deciding factor to me."

Being a Mountaineer is nothing new in the Lewis family. Junius's father, also named Junius, was a center on the Mountaineer basketball team from 1976-1979. When the recruiting process started heating up for the younger Lewis, West Virginia was the school at the top of his list from day one.

"This has been the school for me to go to for a long time," said the well-spoken rising senior. "I live next door to the wide receivers coach (Butch Jones.) I've been to games (at Mountaineer Field) all of my life."

Lewis, of course, isn't the only Mohigan to give his verbal committment to the Mountaineers. Morgantown quarterback Charlie Russell also has given his pledge to play for Rich Rodriguez. Having his close friend on the team was another factor in Lewis's decision.

"I've been playing with Charlie for a long time, since probably about the sixth grade," he said. "Even before football we played basketball together. We've always been good friends, and our families are close. When I got the offer he told me to come to WVU. I had to give everyone a full chance, but when it came down to it I wanted to stay with my family and my friends in Morgantown."

Since giving the Mountaineers his verbal pledge a couple of weeks ago, Junius has continued to hear from other schools about their football programs. Mountaineer fans need not worry about Lewis looking elsewhere, though.

"I don't think I'm going to take any other visits. I'm completely comfortable with my decision," he said.

Qualifying academically will not likely be a problem for Lewis. He reports a 3.1 GPA, and plans to take the ACT for the first time next Saturday (June 10.) When he steps on campus as a freshman in the fall of 2007 he'd like to study business with an eye toward being a pharmaceutical representative down the road.

For the summer he'll focus on working out and improving himself as a player.

"I'm going to go to WVU's camp in June and try to convince other players why WVU is the best place for them," he said. "I've made good friends with (fellow Mountaineer verbal, running back) Victor Anderson too. We're eager to keep the tradition going at West Virginia and build and even greater team than they already are."

When the fall rolls around, he and Russell will try to lead Morgantown to their third straight Class AAA state championship. He also has some personal goals he'd like to accomplish on the field.

"I'm going to try to win the Huff Award," he said referring the the annual award given out to the Mountain State's top defensive player. "I'd like to get a chance to play in the ( US Army) All-American game in San Antonio. Maybe (Russell) and I could both go and represent West Virginia and WVU."

With signing day still eight months away, there's a lot that can happen with regards to the recruiting game. One thing Lewis wants to see is the Mountaineer Family grow even bigger.

"WVU is definitely the right place for me, Charlie, and other players too. I really think I can have an impact on this team. I think over the next few years we'll keep getting better."

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