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The Sports Daily > Duck Stops Here
Oregon recruiting: this 2012 receiver prospect motivates old coaches to use new tricks

Eugene Lewis

WR Plymouth, PA
 -AAAA Wyoming Valley West

Ht:6’2″
Wt:181 lbs
40:4.5 secs
Class:2012 (High School)

The line is long for Eugene Lewis. So long, in fact, that Joe Paterno whipped out his Skype to get face-to-face with him.  Paterno, who’s won a few recruiting battles in 45 years of coaching, isn’t about to let an Eastern Pennsylvania kid with star power get out of the state without a skype or two.

As a sophomore wide receiver Lewis caught 31 passes for 772 yards and 9 tds, a 24.9-yard average per catch.  He has big hands, long arms, and great leaping ability, tremendous timing when the ball is in the air.  Not blazing fast, but he gets open.  Like Devon Blackmon on the current Ducks roster, he’s such a dynamic athlete that coach Pat Keating moved him to quarterback in the offense for his junior year.  Lewis responded with over 2500 yards running and passing and 30 total touchdowns, leading his team to the playoffs with a 7-4 record.

Keating told irishsportsdaily.com, “He’s an athlete, but he’s definitely getting recruited as a wide receiver. He’s an elusive player. He’s got a tremendous vertical. When the ball’s in the air, it’s his football. He’s very good in space. He’s very fluid with his motions and he’s pretty graceful as far as going up and getting the ball. He’s got great balance.”

“He’s a smart kid, so academics are going to play a role in everything,” Keating said. “I think he’s definitely going to try to find a place that really fits him. I think he’s intrigued by the spread and the no-huddle type offenses and being able to get the ball in his hands. He wants to go to some place where he can show his talents.”

 The WVW senior recently displayed his talents at The Opening on the Nike campus in Beaverton, competing for Team Vapor Carbon in the 7-on-7 challenge.  He got to test himself against the best high school players in the country and enjoyed three days of perfect Oregon weather. [Question: do Nike-sponsored events give Oregon a Longhorn Network-type advantage in recruiting, given the Ducks close identification as a Nike school?]

Lewis would be a great fit in the Oregon offense with his ability to run after the catch and stretch the field, but the challenge will be to pry him loose from Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Maryland, three good programs that are way closer to home.

Here’s a look at his sophomore video, from espn.com, chosen because these are his receiver highlights:

Notes:

A terrific leaper with great timing and desire for the ball. Very tough in traffic, uses his body well and positions himself strong for the football (a forward/power forward in basketball; has a tenacious rebounder’s mentality with the ball in the air. Good discipline in route running, cuts sharp, tough to cover. Timed in the 40 at 4.5 but he’s “football fast.” Gets open. Gets to the football. Excellent open-field runner with a long stride and good moves in traffic. 

Plays with confidence, a playmaker who accounted for 30 total touchdowns playing quarterback in a spread offense as a junior. Drives off the line well, and knows when and how to be a touch physical as the ball approaches.  Uses his size and athletic ability to gain an advantage over defenders. Also played some tailback, a tough runner inside with a desire for the end zone. Will be very dangerous in Oregon’s screen game.

Kickoff return, Good yards after contact, runs with balance and authority, tough to bring down. Very composed catching the ball when covered. Not afraid of traffic, runs hard on the slant route, sheds two defenders