COVINGTON, Ga. — It’s been a busy last couple of weeks on the recruiting and campus visits trail for all area athletes, but in particular, Newton football players.
Just in the last two weeks, groups of Newton athletes have taken visits to Tennessee for Junior Day (two Saturdays ago) and to Georgia Tech and Auburn this past Saturday. During the visit to Knoxville, Newton freshman Elijah Zollicoffer picked up an offer from the Volunteers, while Newton’s recruiting coordinator Josh Skelton suggested the Vols could be high on other Rams prospects like 2021 cornerback, Nyland Green.
Skelton said he also expects Lewis to get more looks from such Power Five schools as a defensive back.
This past Saturday, Lewis, Zollicoffer and Green were part of a group of 11 athletes, including rising senior Diondre Glover and quarterback Neal Howard who traveled to Tech and Auburn in what Skelton called, “Newton only visits.”
“These came about just through our relationships with the coaches,” Skelton said. “We would rather skip a Junior Day sometimes and have our own day where nobody is here but us.”
Recently I had the chance to chat with Newton wide receiver, Robert Lewis, particularly about his time at Tennessee. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior picked up recent offers from Coastal Carolina, Akron and Georgia Southern, to go along with his first Power Five offer from Rutgers.
Lewis starred for the Rams offensively as a big-play threat, recording 24 catches for 669 receiving yards and seven touchdown grabs. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, netting him Georgia Sportswriters Association Second Team All-State honors as a kick returner and honorable mention recognition as a receiver.
Here, Lewis shares his impressions of the Tennessee campus, his happiness in seeing a teammate get his first offer, the new vibe on campus with coach Camiel Grant and which school would be his dream scholarship offer.
STOVALL: So what was it like going to Knoxville and checking out Junior Day at Tennessee a couple of weeks ago?
LEWIS: “It was a good experience. I liked listening to what they had to say. It was nice. They’ve got a good athletic program, a good academic program too. It was just nice touring the Tennessee campus. I really liked it.”
STOVALL: What all did you guys get to do there?
LEWIS: “They showed us the locker room areas, the practice locker rooms. They showed us the nutrition area and the weight room. We played some games up there too. it was really fun up there.”
STOVALL: I see one of your teammates, Elijah Zollicoffer got an offer up there. How was it watching one of your brothers get that kind of attention?
LEWIS: “I mean, it’s about time. I know that I’m not the only one that’s good in Newton County. Rockdale County too. I mean there’s a lot of good athletes everywhere around here, but it was good for not only me to get offers from places, but to watch him get an offer too. He’s a ninth grader, so he’s got a lot of potential.”
STOVALL: So I saw you got Coastal Carolina recently, Akron, Rutgers and Georgia Southern. Those are the four you’ve got right now with others showing interest every day. What’s it been like to see that recruiting attention pick up for you?
LEWIS: “It’s just been good. I really just see it as blessings coming my way, and I’m hankful for getting those offers, you know.”
STOVALL: You come back from Christmas break, new coach, Camiel Grant, is in place. You guys are getting up for 5:50 a.m. workouts again. How has the vibe been a little bit different now since coach Grant has officially taken over?
LEWIS: “Now we’re picking up the pace. We didn’t like the way things went and ended out last year. It was disappointing, especially for our seniors, our senior class. I know they were disappointed and everybody else was too. But this year, we’re just setting a new standard. We’re getting stronger, and really just not coming out to play games. We see leadership. Everybody wants to be a leader, and that’s a good thing.”
STOVALL: What are you trying to improve on, specifically as a receiver?
LEWIS: “I want to improve on my route running, my blocking, and the way I read the defenses. I want to see how corners are playing me, how the linebackers are playing and safeties are playing me. That way I can read and talk to my quarterback, getting audibles and getting in whatever changes need to happen.”
STOVALL: I’ve gotta ask you: Is there a dream school that you’re hoping will offer you during this process? One that might make you stop and take a real hard look at it?
Lewis: “Dream school, I’d have to say, probably LSU. I just like LSU and I always have since Odell (Beckham) and Jarvis Landry were there. They’re some real role models to me as a wide receiver, and they really made LSU stand out at the wide receiver corps, so yeah, if they offered, I’d probably listen really good.”