If it weren’t for the Glenville High School pipeline, OSU may have missed out on the constant flow of talent from the Cleveland area, but the same can be said for Pickerington now, the suburb just southeast of Columbus. The Pickerington Central Tigers and Pickerington North Panthers are becoming feeder schools for homegrown Buckeye talent, and as a Pickerington townie myself, I love it. The next recruit in the bunch, having already covered Jacoby Boren and Patrick Elflein, is a rock-solid receiver, Roger Lewis. Check out the ESPN scouting report, my predictions for this local Tiger turned Buckeye, and his own words for Buckeye Nation…
Weight: 185 lbs
Hometown/School: Pickerington, OH/Pickerington Central High School
Position: Wide Receiver
ESPN Scouting Report 06/07/2011:
Lewis is one of those guys that is just a good football player. He has size, strength, pretty fluid elusiveness and is a quick player for his size. Shows some functional strength to outmuscle DBs and redzone upside on the jump ball. He can be a bit of a head scratcher because it is very clear he is not a great speed guy, yet he always seems to get open and create separation. We feel he is at his best out of the slot. He is a galloper off the line; can be imposing. Builds to top speed. He has good hands and very good ball skills. He can make the catch away from his body and he is not shy about going over the middle. Possesses very good body control and change-of-direction skills and he shows that he can turn a short gain into a big play. He adjusts well to the ball in the air and he shows good sideline awareness. R uns solid patterns, attacks DBs alignment, will double move and shows sneaky quickness off his plant foot to create separation.
Is likely at his best working against zone coverage. Has a great feel for where to be and when to settle. His ability to catch the ball between two defenders and in a crowd is impressive and he shows terrific over-the-shoulder focus. When the ball is in the air, it is his. Shows surprising production as a return man given his size and sometimes lumbering style. With Lewis our concern is that he won’t win many footraces of run by many folks if at the BCS level. His worth in the slot gives him higher value when matched-up against top flight competition because he is smart and knows what to do and how to get open. He could be a great movement H-back type that works zones between the numbers and corner/seam routes in the red area. Good player with some speed limitations that has FBS level ability and nice measurables.
Notes: Committed August 2011…
Urban Meyer’s recruiting adventures will continue over the next couple of months, but the rumor right now is that, unless the prospect is on the ESPN 150 as an Athlete or Wide Receiver, the WR position is full. There is so much young talent at this position, that it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be on the field in September of 2012. We’re still over 9 months away from that point, and even our coaching staff has not been finalized yet. For that reason, it’s nearly impossible to say whether or not players like Roger Lewis will be able to earn a spot on the field in the fall. However, I will say this: Go back up to the ESPN scouting report and read the line that I highlighted for you. “When the ball is in the air, it is his.” It doesn’t just say that he’s athletic, is able to separate himself from defenders with ease, and has great hands (all of which are also true), but it says that he will come down with the ball. That’s just about the highest compliment that you can give to a wide receiver.
Urban Meyer and Stan Drayton will have their work cut out for them this spring and summer trying to determine who the WR starters will be, but it should be one heck of a battle. Including Lewis, Thomas, Epitropoulos and Southward (all 2012 WR recruits), there could be up to 14 people competing for those spots. My own prediction is that Lewis, in his freshman year, will see some action as a slot receiver and possibly in the return game. While other players may battle to be the X or Z positions, the Y spot could have his name written all over it. He excels at finding gaps in the defense (especially against zone coverage), has great hands in traffic, and may lack the necessary outside speed that others on the roster (i.e. Devin Smith) possess. Look for this Pickerington native to get his name mentioned a few times this summer as a very consistent receiver…something OSU needs right now. On top of that, his vision downfield and ability to make a first tackler miss (and second, third, etc), as you can see in his highlight video below, makes him a likely candidate to compete with Jordan Hall for return duties next year.
Lewis is dying to get here and show Buckeye Nation what he can do. I asked him to give me a quick word or two about himself for OSU fans and his response was, “I’m a big playmaker and I’m coming under Urban Meyer’s offense to return punts and kicks, make big plays, and win championships.” I love how easy he makes it sound.
Welcome to Ohio State, Mr. Lewis.