Brookfield Central running back Jeff Lewis, who rushed 81 times for 538 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008, had always dreamed about staying close to home and being one of the great running backs that came out of the Wisconsin running school.
Starting next fall, Lewis will get his chance, as he gave his verbal commitment to recruiting coach Bob Bostad to join UW's 2010 recruiting class.
"Wisconsin is Running Back U," Lewis told Badger Nation Sunday afternoon. "If you want to be a big, physical running back, you need to go to Wisconsin. They always produce the best running backs in the Big Ten, they always pound the ball and that's what I love to do."
Lewis picked the Badgers over scholarship offers from Indiana, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Illinois State, Buffalo and Western Michigan in addition to heavy interest from Iowa State (he was told the Cyclones would offer him if he came to their camp) and California (‘they liked me a lot, but a lot of their coaches were out of town and couldn't see me,' Lewis said).
Despite all his trips and camps, after Lewis received his UW offer after the Badgers' second summer camp, no other school really compared to what UW had to offer, and meant, to Lewis.
"When Wisconsin offered, it was really a blessing and showed that my hard work paid off," Lewis said. "I had been waiting for that offer for a long time. To go to camp and actually earn it, that makes it that much better."
At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Lewis is a solid change-of-pace back, being able to hit the outside with his 4.5 40-yard speed or lower his shoulders and deliver a blow to an unsuspecting defensive back.
"I can hit the outside good and get some yards or I can deliver a blow, whatever the play calls for," Lewis said. "I can go up the middle or I can pick the spot. I have good breakaway speed in the open field and my change of direction is pretty good."
Lewis isn't the first Brookfield Central athlete to give his pledge to the University of Wisconsin. Following a trail of former players like Joe Thomas and Ben Strickland, current players Rob Korslin and Brad Nortman and 2010 verbal commit Bryce Gilbert, Lewis is honored to be apart of two elite fraternities when he suits up next fall.
"It's fantastic because me and Bryce are really close and the players that have come from here, like Thomas and Strickland, are amazing players," Lewis said. "Strickland told me at camp to not worry about the recruiting and to just worry about myself."
Lewis is the seventh in-state commit from Wisconsin for the 2010 class, joining Gilbert, Jake Irwin, Dallas Lewallen, Marquis Mason, Michael Trotter and Konrad Zagzebski. Like his fellow commits, the goal for Lewis is go out of high school a champion.
"The goal now is to win the state championship, because we have a very good team," he said. "Personally, I want to make the all-state team and be invited to the All-American game. I will have a shot at it, but I have to keep working hard and improve myself every day."