TomVH: An Interview with RB Juwan Lewis

Submitted by TomVH on July 5th, 2011 at 1:50 PM

The Michigan coaching staff has made it apparent that they would like to recruit a running back prospect for the 2012 class. However with the number of offers extended and prospects committed, the opportunities are becoming slim. That may require the coaching staff to look for new prospects to extend offers to, and there just happens to be an uncommitted back waiting for an offer from the Wolverines.

Muskegon RB Juwan Lewis (5'11", 208 lbs) laid everything on the line recently at Michigan's camp and is now hoping that performance will earn him an offer. I caught up with both Juwan and his father, who also happens to be his coach. Here's a look at his film and then we'll start with Juwan.

TOM: Tell me first where you're at in your recruitment, and who you've all heard from so far.

JUWAN: My parents and I are taking our time with recruiting. My dad has been taking care of everything for me and it's been a great help. My feelings right now for every school is mutual, no school is above the other. I've been in contact with schools from the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Pac 10, Big East, Independent, and MAC schools. My parents have mainly been telling me to enjoy the process and take my time with my decision right now.

TOM: When you camped at Michigan what did the coaches say to you?

JUWAN: They've been impressed with my work ethic, and they were happy with my work outs at camp. They're very interested. 

TOM: What offers do you currently have?

JUWAN: I have offers from Buffalo, Western Michigan, and Eastern Michigan.

Since Juwan's father handles most of his recruiting I also spoke with him about what's happening now and what could be coming up in the near future.

TOM: I know Juwan told me he's hearing from a lot of schools, does he have any favorites yet?

MR. LEWIS: He's getting letters and phone calls from all over. His options are open for now. Does he want to go to a Big Ten school? Probably. They're all starting to come around and talk to him. I coach so they can talk to me about him and he has a lot of letters, he has a tub full of letters from schools all over.

TOM: With Michigan specifically what do you think is next after his camp performance?

MR. LEWIS: He had a great experience down there. I've been working Michigan camps for the last 11 years. I'm injured right now so I couldn't this year. They worked him over though and he was one of the best at the camps. With them it's a waiting game. I like Michigan, I love Michigan, but I don't know if they feel like they have enough backs or not. My understanding is that Juwan could be on the backs that they would take. Until they offer him we have to keep options open. He's talked about Indiana, Northwestern is definitely a school that's right there. Iowa has contacted him. The only school that's fallen off with us is Ohio State.

TOM: Can you tell me about who he is off the field?

MR. LEWIS: He plays the drums in church, too. He's in the church band so I never have to wake him up to go to church. He does a lot of community stuff without people asking him. He's a well rounded kid that's humble. I try to make him see the other side of it. Little kids come up to him, and we're in a small town, and they look up to him. People talk about not just the football but what he does in the community, he's in honor society, and he's probably going to be around top twenty in his class. He was born in Ann Arbor, I brought him up from Ann Arbor and I took everything personal with him. I'm an educator and we focused on that with him, and I'm proud of where he's at. 

TOM: Do you have any idea of when he'd like to have his decision made by?

MR. LEWIS: What I want to do is have him done by a couple weeks into the season. Have him getting an offer and just saying let's go with it. I don't want him to have to worry about anything and just have fun. That takes a lot of pressure off the kid. He only has two classes next year and he has a 3.8 GPA, so he'll graduate early. In January I want him to be in someone's system, learning their program. The academic side is why I like the Big Ten schools. It's up to him to finish his major, I know he wants to major in broadcasting. I preach with him because I know he can play football. I want him to embody the student athlete and be in the study hall as much as he is in the film room. 

Comments

JohnnyBlue

July 5th, 2011 at 3:00 PM ^

I was at that game thought the kid looked awsome while he systamatically destroyed my beloved Jackets :(  hopefully he can contribute at the next level, I remember brent cummings from belding back in the day who made Greenville look just as silly, who went to UofM on scholorship not accomplishing a whole lot

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 2:15 PM ^

Clearly Juwan is below a Dunn type back, but he reminds me a lot of Rawls in that he's not a big name, but a kid who could fit in well in our system. He's pretty big already, and was a state finalist in the 200m so you know he can move and has great leg strength. If it looks like the big name backs we're after fall off, I'd be happy taking him in this class.

extremegame

July 5th, 2011 at 4:51 PM ^

 

Juwan Lewis is currently rated a 3 star running back but is on the very edge of being a 4 star caliber back. He is attending the MSU camp on July 11th and once the season gets started I believe he will achieve a 4 star rating when Rivals and Scout re-access player rankings.

Juwan doesn't have the offers some of the other backs do because of the type of offense Muskegon runs. He isn't the featured back in the triple option. The carries are evenly distributed amongst three backs and the QB. If he were in a pro -style offense where he was the featured back he would have gaudy numbers like backs that are featured and get 30 carries a game. Secondly, mobility has been the question mark with him because everything is downhill and a straight line as can be seen on film. This was the biggest question mark going into the Michigan football camp. He blew away any notion of his lack of agility and ability to make cuts on the fly. The Michigan coaches were highly impressed and he left no doubt who the best back was at the camp.

You might be surprised at how he compares to Dunn. Juwan is 3 inches shorter but he is still growing. His dad is 6'2 and played at Kansas State. He is a solid 208 lbs and runs the 40 yd dash in 4.42 seconds versus Dunn's time of 4.6 seconds. Juwan bench presses 425 lbs and squats 550 lbs. The Michigan coaches figure they can bulk Juwan easily up to 225 lbs and not lose any of his speed.

Whoever gets this young man will get a person with character, integrity and someone who is dedicated, unselfish and coachable. 

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 6:41 PM ^

You have a pretty good argument to be honest, although I disagree with your point about him being close to a 4-star back.  He's barely a 3-star, and not even to some sites, not that it matters much since those can change quickly.

I have heard that good things about his strength numbers, although not quite to the extent you suggest.  Rivals lists both his squat and bench a full hundred pounds below what you're reporting, but that's still very, very good for a HS junior who weighs 200lbs.  If those are true there's no doubt in my mind he could keep his speed at 220-225, which would make him a lot of RB to handle.

ND Sux

July 5th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

Hits the hole fast, and I love the 'go forward' mentality...reminds me of Mike Hart (and no, not just because he wears #20).  His running style seems a little upright, but looks to have decent speed. 

I'm not a scout, so I'm curious what others thought of his clip. 

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 2:21 PM ^

Any word on how big this kid really is? The sites say he's anywhere from 5'10" to 6'0" and anywhere from 180 to 208. Did he get measured at the M camp recently?

animals77

July 5th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

He did not look as big as his stat size stated at the beginning of the youtube clip.  It said 6'0 200 lbs, but he looked a little smaller.  He is very fast, though.  I am a little shocked that only Buffalo, Western and Eastern Michigan have offered, but he still has a full season left to play. 

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

I don't know anything about Fox, but that might say something. As for Norfleet, he's just so small and I don't think that's what the coaches want. Norfleet would have been great in our old system, but not now. Lewis is both big and fast, I think that's why he has a shot.

Mr Mackey

July 5th, 2011 at 2:36 PM ^

I'd take Lewis over Norfleet. I've never heard of Fox.

Norfleet's just too small for our system, and we have a lot of guys like him.

I'm also very surprised Lewis doesn't have more offers. That's an impressive tape, and he seems like a very well-rounded kid with a great support system in his Dad.

I Bleed Maize …

July 5th, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

talking about wanting to fill just  a RB position. I think Norfleet is a great talent and would fit in the old system perfectly. But he would be more of a return specialist/situational guy with us now. Not saying that's bad, it would be great to have someone back there who can take it to the house at any time.  But i think Lewis is a better fit as a RB in the new system.  I think he would actually excel as an I-formation HB.

Magnus

July 5th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

Donte Fox is not a Michigan-caliber recruit.  If he gets an offer from Michigan, we're really reaching.  We don't need a running back that badly to take a kid like Fox.  We would be just fine playing with the kids we have and going after some more elite recruits in 2013.

ken725

July 5th, 2011 at 4:23 PM ^

I would much rather have Lewis.  He is for sure going to qualify and be an EE candidate.  Also we have Justice Hayes who is pretty similar to Norfleet, only taller. 

There are reports that Norfleet has some work to do to qualify. 

JWB

July 5th, 2011 at 2:23 PM ^

He looks good on tape with very good speed against that competition.   Why doesn't he have any big time offers at this stage?

I Bleed Maize …

July 5th, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

a lot.  I saw him in person last year vs Rockford (Ben Braden's school).  And He played well.  I' ve also seen alot his highlights throughout last year.  I think his lack of big time offers comes from the fact he actually plays FB in Muskegon's triple option offense.  If he was the HB in a more pro-style or straight spread offense I believe he would have alot more offers.  But as far as his skill set i think it's high and he plays against great competition every week.  I wouldn't mind adding him to this class. 

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 11:30 PM ^

That's cool that you saw them both compete side by side and that you felt Juwan Lewis was the better back. It's interesting that the coaches have offered Hill and now Lewis, but I guess it must be that they see Hill as primarily a fullback.

Magnus

July 6th, 2011 at 6:33 AM ^

Yeah, I don't think Hill is fast enough to be a feature back.  And if he ever becomes a feature back, it's because Michigan is completely lacking in the tailback department.  He would be a good addition as a versatile fullback type.

To me, if Hoke/Borges think they need a scholarship fullback-type player, then I would be glad to see a player like Hill commit.  But there are a lot of people around here who are high on Rawls, and if he's as good as those people think, then I don't see a reason to think about offering guys like Lewis, Fox, etc., who are good high school players and deserving of FBS offers...but I don't think they're good enough to sacrifice taking a player like O'Brien, Banner, etc.  I'd rather take an extra lineman or a quarterback than a non-superstar tailback.

WolvinLA2

July 6th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

Here my thinking:

For every guy who is high on Rawls, there is one who is low on Hayes.  A lot of people don't think he has what it takes.  And if Alden Hill doesn't have the speed to be a feature back, then Hopkins certainly doesn't, and who knows what will happen with Toussaint. 

Those are the backs we're relying on for 2012 and beyond if we don't take a RB this class.  It sounds to me like Lewis has all the things people liked in Rawls, just a little bit smaller and a little bit faster, although he might end up being every bit as big.  It depends on how many scholarships we end up with, but I like taking a guy like Lewis. 

Magnus

July 6th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

Well, on NCAA Football I like taking 25 guys every class and then just cutting whichever kids aren't developing.  But here you've got to pick and choose.  If Michigan can fill out the class with the kids everyone's so giddy about (Washington, Stanford, Pipkins, O'Brien, Wilson, Diamond, Garnett, Kalis, etc.), then I don't see how you eliminate, say, Pipkins in favor of Juwan Lewis.

We've got 7 running backs returning next year.  And the most important thing to get your running game going is a good offensive line.  If all these offensive line guys develop the way we want them to and the way the recruiting sites expect (and I'm sure it won't be a 100% success rate, but go with me here), then it doesn't matter if we put Vincent Smith back there to lead block for Jihad Rasheed, the running backs are going to be out of this world.

Michigan has produced all kinds of linemen who have been successful at the NFL level - Jansen, Runyan, Long, Backus, Hutchinson, etc.  Meanwhile, the running backs who looked so awesome in those times - Hart, Thomas, Perry, etc. - haven't done a damn thing in the NFL.  Those RB's gained all those yards thanks to a great offensive line, not because they were supremely gifted.  Give me a good offensive line, and the rest will fall into place.

WolvinLA2

July 6th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

I totally agree with that.  I think we certainly take two more OL (likely Kalis and Diamond) before a RB, and we take guys like Pipkins, O'Brien, Wormley, Washington, Stanford, Wilson etc before a RB as well.  This is don't disagree with.

But let's say we get almost all of those guys, we get a WR, we get two more OL, we get a few more DL guys, and the staff wants a RB.  I'm cool with taking Lewis.  That's what I'm saying. 

I definitely agree that a big time OL makes any RB look good, evidenced by M offenses of the last dozen or so years.

jackw8542

July 5th, 2011 at 5:07 PM ^

Sounds like a great kid who will perform both academically and athletically.  If his skills are in the same ballpark as the other possibles, unless the other kids are his equal on a personal level, I would take him and count on his work ethic and humility compensating for any shortcomings.

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 5:58 PM ^

He sounds like a safe offer. He's probably not going to be a star, but he's certainly going to qualify and he's never gonna be on academic probation, he'll probably never have behavioral or criminal issues, he'll probably learn the playbook as well as anyone, he'll probably block well and he'll probably have a good attitude.

Now, he's probably a kid you'll never regret making an offer to, unless it takes the place of a stud prospect. Once we've decided all those aren't coming here, I hope we offer him.

Don

July 5th, 2011 at 5:58 PM ^

???  I don't know how you came to that conclusion—Lewis runs with a very visible body lean. I like him, especially if his speed is even close to the supposed 4.42. He's a high-character kid, and you never suffer with kids like that in your program; he would be a great influence in the locker room and on the sidelines.

Charlie Chunk

July 5th, 2011 at 6:38 PM ^

What's not to like about this kid?  Hits the hole fast with plenty of speed.  Powerful for sure.  Bounces off of would-be tacklers and gets pointed down field again.  Runs away from the defenders. Quick.  Looks like a Michigan back to me.  

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 7:06 PM ^

From the MHSAA website, it shows that he placed 8th in D1 in the 200m dash this past spring, his junior year, his time was 22.24 in the finals. 

I know a lot of people don't like looking at track times for football players, but I do.  They shouldn't be taken out of context and just assume that a kid who has fast track times will be a good football player, but if a kid has demonstrated that he's got football ability (and I believe that Juwan has) then track times can be a good indication of how much speed he really has. 

He didn't run the 100m at the state meet (or at regionals) and I'm not sure why.  But a time that fast in the 200m means the guy has big time leg strength (which we already knew) and will likely never be chased down from behind.  Some backs, especially bigger backs, will have a good burst for 10-20 yards and top out.   It's safe to say that Lewis will accelerate all the way to the endzone even on a very long run.

dutchbag

July 5th, 2011 at 7:16 PM ^

He breaks arm tackles and does a pretty good job of following his blocks and making cuts off of them; and when he gets to the secondary he can pull away. I would like to see what he could do out of the power I!

Elmer

July 5th, 2011 at 7:23 PM ^

Sounds like a good kid from a good family.  I hope the offers come rolling in for him.  Since he attended the UM camp, they probably have a decent idea if he could play tailback.  So if they offer, I'm guessing he will be a solid player at the next level. 

WolvinLA2

July 5th, 2011 at 7:36 PM ^

Exactly, the coaches will have a lot of info on him, so if they do make an offer, it likely means he's a good back. 

He might have a situation like Thomas Rawls, where he needs to wait until the end for that UM offer, albeit for a different reason.  He's not really at a position of need which hurts him, and we seem to have 4-5 stars at more needed spots looking like they want to head our way.  I doubt he gets an offer terribly soon, but once the dust settles a bit he might find himself with a Michigan offer.  He might not be able to have his decision on his desired timeline, though.

Wolfman

July 5th, 2011 at 8:26 PM ^

just remember, when judging this young man, whatever his stats they will be compiled against defenses in the top public h.s. conference in this state.

There is really no argument against the above statement. We're all ware of the power of the Detroit Catholic League, but that is a league that ranges in size from huge schools like DCC and Brother Rice to schools with much smaller enrollments.  Top tier schools in the OK Red, such as Rockford, Muskegon, Grandville, et.al, compare favorably to the best the DCC has to offer and since Annese reinstalled the pride in the Big Red program, these kids have received excellent coaching.

Their current h.c., Shane Fairfield has proven he's one of the brightest offensive minds in the state at the h.s. level, so this might inflate Juwan't stats somewhat, and I haven't watched film on him, but I'm guessing many of his longer runs were made on  outside pitches where the blocking scheme utlized had already given him a pretty clear path to 15-20 yard gain by time he received the pitch.

This isn't necessarily bad. As others in this thread have mentioned, he appears to be a very difficult back to tackle, and based on years of watching h.s. football in the Muskegon area, I can state, without much hesitation that whoever lines up in the starting backfield for Muskegon has beaten out some top notch individual kids for that honor.  The one thing they all have in common is they are very hard-nosed and will fight for every last inch.

I do know MSU has offered scholarships to Big Red RBs w/varying degrees of success but when MI offers a kid from that program, they've done so to kids who enjoyed good to great collegiate careers, i.e. Terrance Taylor, Ronald Jonhson among others.

I'm guessing Fred has a good read on this kid, so if an offer is extended, expect him to be a contributor for a minimum of two years. 

Just as a side note, I do know that w. side kids are often overlooked at the rb position based on sound reasoning. Programs come from the w. side, but yes, the state's top athletes normally come from the east side. However, UM passed on Curtis Adams of Muskegon Orchard View who went on to become an AA at Cental and had a nice NFL career, including a pro bowl year. They did the same with Johnny William of Muskegon Reeths Puffer, who not only beat a Bo coached Michigan team by going for 80+ on a screen pass while playing for WI long before they became good, but also was a teammate of AC's on the MI Panthers in their USFL chamionship season, but also had a nice NFL career with Seatlle.  

In the end, I'll stick with the statement made above. Fred has seen him, has judged him and has made up his mind as to whether or not he can get at least a good two year's production from him. If an offer goes out, be happy.  

Bosch

July 5th, 2011 at 9:44 PM ^

Just as a side note, I do know that w. side kids are often overlooked at the rb position based on sound reasoning. Programs come from the w. side, but yes, the state's top athletes normally come from the east side.

More talent comes from the east side because the volume of division 1 and 2 programs is significantly unbalanced towards the east.

 

extremegame

July 5th, 2011 at 11:15 PM ^

Nice compliment about Shane Fairfield but lets get the some things right. First of all Juwan Lewis is a FB in the Muskegon Triple Option Scheme. This means he gets his carries on Midline, I/S Veer and Trap plays. He usually gets about 10-12 carries a game. He doesn't get outside pitches, he runs between the tackles.  The two slots lined up on the O/S of Juwan would be the ones that get the pitches from the QB. Secondly, Shane Fairfield is a Defensive Coordinator and not an Offensive Mastermind! Yes he is a very good coach and defensive coordinator, but lets give credit where credit is due. The person behind the Muskegon Offense is Brent White. 

The Muskegon offense is very balanced and designed so that any of three players can touch the ball on every play. Muskegon had three players last year with over 1,000 yards and a couple of others with 600 plus. Like I said before, if Juwan were the futured back and the work horse in an "I" set, he would probably have 2500 yards and 30 plus touch downs. But the Muskegon offense is not designed to feature one person. Muskegon is successful because of the team concept.  

WeCheerThemAgain

July 6th, 2011 at 3:09 AM ^

Thanks for so much insightful analysis and insider info on Juwan and Muskegon football.  On the other hand, your love and admiration for both leaves me to wonder....

Mr. Lewis, is that you?!

In all seriousness, though, welcome to the site and keep the information coming. It's MGoUsers like you that make this blog so unique (and addicting). You seem really passionate about Juwan's talents and character, and if you're right about him, hopefully the coaches will see it, too.

extremegame

July 7th, 2011 at 9:03 PM ^

 

Lewis Raises Stock Premium Story
This story originally published on SuperPrep.com

 
 
Midwest Regional Manager
Posted Jul 7, 2011

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Muskegon (Mich.) running back Juwan Lewis adds an offer and may not be done there.

Juwan Lewis has not been to a high volume of camps this summer, but he has made the most of the ones he has gone to.

"I was at the Michigan camp. I've been to Dallas to compete with Michigan Elite in nationals. We made the top four. This coming Monday, I'll be going to Michigan Statefor their one day."

It was at Michigan that Lewis added a third offer to his existing ones from Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.

"Yeah, when I was at the Michigan camp, I talked to Buffalo while I was down there and they ended up offering. I like their school as well. They are strong on academics and run a similar, one back offense. From what I've read, they have a rich tradition and they're trying to gain that back, basically trying to start over and start fresh and I like that."

Lewis has camped at Michigan for a few years, but this year was his best performance, and he left the Maize and Blue impressed with what he did.

"Day after day they were telling me how impressed they were and how big of a change I made since when I was a 10th grader. They were very impressed with how everything went and told me they're going to keep in touch. They're calling my dad or parents pretty soon. They're on break right now, so they're not dealing with much, but they said they would be in touch to discuss important things."

While he was already familiar with position coach Fred Jackson, the rest of the staff was new to Lewis and he says he received positive feedback from all of them.

"When I talk to them, they seem really, just as excited as Coach Jackson was. They want to get to know me. Even in the evening time when we were playing regular air force, they would come down and watch my movement. I like their coaching staff and the new offense they're going to run and we'll just see how everything plays out."

Could a similar performance in East Lansing this coming Monday bring a Spartan offer? Lewis is not ready to say that, but is coming up to camp to see if he can impress MSU.

"When I talked to the coaches the other day, they had already offered a running back for our class and he actually committed. I'm very happy for him, but I'm just going into the camp, having fun and they are telling me that they didn't want that to stop me from coming to the campus and working out with them. I'm just going to go and see it how plays out, and hopefully they offer more than one running back."

 

extremegame

July 7th, 2011 at 9:15 PM ^

 

Big Red Freight Train

by George Yarberry
Juwan Lewis from Muskegon High School is one of the top running backs in the Class of 2012. Lewis has the speed and power to do it all. He currently has 4 MAC offers and is talking with several Big 10 ...