Just one day after making his pledge to the Texas Longhorns, Melissa wide receiver Kennedy Lewis officially joined Tom Herman’s 2019 class on Wednesday by putting pen to paper and signing his National Letter of Intent.
A three-star talent formerly committed to TCU, Lewis was thought to be coming aboard Texas’ 2019 recruiting haul more than a month ago. After reopening his recruitment on Oct. 16, just days after an Oct. 12 official visit to Texas, Lewis’ recruitment almost immediately swung in favor of the Horns.
Shortly thereafter, Lewis returned to the Forty Acres for an unofficial visit on Nov. 1, and then just days later, set a decision date for Nov. 9. On Nov. 8, however, Lewis took to Twitter to announce that a delay in his decision, which opened the door for other programs to push — programs such as Baylor and Washington.
The Bears and Huskies each made the most of the late opportunity.
Throughout the final three weeks of the early signing period, Baylor and Washington each made multiple in-home visits with the three-star wide out, and furthermore, Lewis officially visited both — Baylor and Washington on Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, respectively — with an official trip to Florida in between the two on Dec. 7.
All the while, though, Texas maintained contact with the in-state product, and after the Longhorns lost a pledge from four-star Odessa Permian athlete Peyton Powell last Thursday, the media perception was that the momentum was now back in favor of the burnt orange. Since Saturday, 10 Crystal Ball picks were placed projections Lewis to the Longhorns, and of course, on Tuesday, those predictions came to fruition.
The latest pledge to join the Longhorns now becomes the fourth wide receiver to side with Texas this cycle, joining a trio of four-star talents in Scottsdale (Az.) Notre Dame Preparatory star Jake Smith, Cuero standout Jordan Whittington, and Saint Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic product Marcus Washington.
Burnt Orange Nation’s Joe Hamilton detailed what Lewis brings to the table:
Kennedy Lewis is a long, rangy prospect with a tall stature and a frame that will be able to add a substantial amount of weight as he enters the Longhorns strength and conditioning program. Because of his size and athletic ability, he’s able to go up and make those difficult catches over the top of cornerbacks. Being able to locate the ball and maintain possession while a defender is draped all over him might be the most intriguing aspect of Lewis’ game when he’s on the field. He is also deceptive in the speed department and frequently gets behind the secondary. Whether it’s on a deep ball or a quick screen, Lewis is a difficult player to contain. Making more grabs away from his body and becoming a better overall route runner will be some areas in his game he’ll need to improve on as he develops his game with the Longhorns.
As a senior, Lewis utilized said skill set to the tune of 47 receptions for 753 yards and 10 touchdowns, which actually marked a slight regression from his junior efforts of 48 receptions for 1,099 yards and 11 scores.
Lewis will find himself playing at the Z in the passing game, the spot currently occupied by Devin Duvernay and John Burt. In the Texas offense, you see the Z position playing the middle of the field trying either find a soft spot in the zone or exploit a mismatch.
You saw flashes of what he can do from that position in his senior film, both against man and zone coverage. Lewis is able to slip behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties, then taking advantage of the angles while making defenders miss. His size also gives him the ability to burst through arm tackles and Lewis is just fast enough to keep the distance between him and chasing defenders.
In the red zone, his size and physicality gives him the advantage over smaller corners, high pointing the ball and coming down with the sideline fade route that features heavily in the Texas offense.
Lewis’s addition in this class rounds out a talented group of receivers that seems to check every box for the Texas offense. Given the talent he’s going to arrive with and what’s already on campus, however, Lewis should be afforded the opportunity to redshirt and develop behind experienced options and younger talents including Brennan Eagles and Al’Vonte Woodard.