As Blue in South Bend just tweeted to me, recruits come in pairs of pairs now, as the Wolverines picked up their third and fourth commits of the day in Cass Tech teammates Jourdan Lewis and David Dawson. I'll start with Lewis, a cornerback who really impressed while playing across the field from incoming freshman Terry Richardson.
Lewis lining up against 2012 Michigan commit Devin Funchess (Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog)
|NR CB||4*, 90, #21 CB|
Lewis will likely be a four-star prospect across the board when all is said and done, and Rivals regards him as a top-200 prospect early in the process. He's listed at anywhere between 5'9" and 5'11" depending on where you look, but having seen him three times this past season in person, I can vouch for him being right around 5'11"—he had a good couple inches on teammate Terry Richardson. For a Tech CB that's huge. There's more of a consensus on Lewis's weight, as three of the four sites list him at 170, which sounds about right.
Lewis has played varsity football for Cass Tech since his sophomore year, but he wasn't really on the recruiting radar until an impressive performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp last June, chronicled here by Josh Helmholdt ($):
...cornerback Jordan Lewis (sic), has not made as many camp appearances, and thus is not as widely known, but the 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect should end up generating the same level of interest. Cass Tech has produced a BCS Conference cornerback prospect in four of the last five classes, and Lewis should keep that streak alive. Lewis' overall athleticism is off the charts, and he showed great ball skills in one-on-ones.
Lewis had the unfortunate distinction of being listed as "Lewis Jordan" on the Cass Tech roster for all of last year, and the spelling of his name is routinely bungled.
While Lewis was noted as an outstanding camp performer after SMSB, there were still questions about his on-field ability, but he began to answer those starting with Cass Tech's season opener against Farmington Hills Harrison. Allan Trieu said after the game, "He's a fast, athletic kid, who is not the biggest (5'8, 165-lbs), but makes a lot of plays. He had some nice returns, a couple tackles and an interception on a diving attempt. He holds a Toledo offer, and is a BCS prospect in my opinion." Josh Helmholdt listed Lewis as the #5 performer of the Big Day Prep Showdown—and the top junior, after three Michigan commits and Aaron Burbridge—and gave this evaluation ($):
The 5-11, 170-pound Lewis is very shifty and shows good agility in the open field on offense. His speed is unquestioned, but he also had more pop in his hits than we expected, knocking several ballcarriers backward with good form tackles. His ball skills were also on display with a shoelace interception that stopped a promising Harrison drive. What Lewis will need to improve the next two years is his play recognition, but that will come with experience and the junior had little of that before this season.
I also took in the game, and you can find my full report—as well as a few highlights—here. I thought Lewis was Cass Tech's best player on the field in that game, and I thought much the same when I saw the Technicians face off against Warren De La Salle and Shane Morris in the state playoffs:
Lewis was the best player on the field on Friday, recording three pass breakups and a critical interception (included in the video highlights above), where he read where Morris was going beautifully and made a great play on the ball. Lewis has a couple inches on Richardson, and while he's still quite skinny, he's able to play a more physical game while still exhibiting good speed and agility.
With Richardson doing such a great job blanketing receivers on the opposite side of the field, Morris often tried to throw at Lewis, but the junior was ready—he did a great job of staying right with the receiver, waiting until the ball was there, then reaching around and knocking it away without committing a penalty—his pass breakups all felt like a carbon copy of the previous one. Lewis is the next in line in the Cass cornerback pipeline, and he looked worthy to take up the mantle previously held by Richardson, Dior Mathis, and Boubacar Cissoko, though he has a little bit of height on each of his predecessors.
[Ed-S: That mantle:
Overall, Lewis brings outstanding athleticism to the cornerback position, and his coverage skills improved markedly over the course of last season. He's also not afraid to come up and make a hit, and once he adds a few pounds he could be a plus defender against the run.
Lewis had just two offers—from Michigan and Toledo—when he committed, but he made it clear from the beginning of the process that the Wolverines would be tough to beat. Rivals lists interest from Alabama, Iowa, MSU, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, so clearly some big-name schools started to take notice of his ability.
Lewis recorded eight interceptions as a junior and also had a big impact on the other two phases of the game, scoring six times as a receiver and five as a returner (three kickoff and two punt).
FAKE 40 TIME
24/7 lists him a 4.40, which is faaaaaast. Lewis possesses tremendous athleticism, but I'll have to hang a three FAKEs out of five on that one until I see some confirmation from a camp that uses electronic timing.
Also, check out the 0:40 mark of this video to see Lewis picking off Morris in their playoff matchup.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
With only J.T. Floyd graduating from the cornerback ranks after 2012, Lewis should be afforded the luxury of a redshirt. After that, he should be right in the mix for playing time with Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott gone after 2013; he could very well be competing with Richardson for a starting spot across from Blake Countess. Lewis impressed me even more than Richardson in the three games I watched them play this season, and he has the potential to be an impact corner early in his career.
Lewis is also a very proficient return man; he could carve out a role in that capacity as well, especially on kickoffs, though it could be difficult to find a spot there with Dennis Norfleet on the roster. Still, Lewis was one of the most impressive prospects I saw in all of 2011, and he's a huge get for this class.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan will likely go after one more corner after only bringing in one player at the position—Richardson—in 2012. The Wolverines are already in the mix for several elite CB prospects, including five-stars Kendall Fuller and Vernon Hargreaves III, and Michigan also has a good shot at Tre Bell and Ryan White. Michigan can be pretty picky with this last corner spot, so look for them to try and fill it with a top-flight player.
Including Dawson (post coming soon), Michigan now has filled seven spots in the 2013 class: one QB, one RB, one TE, two OL, one CB, and a safety. They'll likely take 20-22 players in this year's class, barring greater-than-expected attrition.