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   Recruiting News

Jonathan Lewis
Football: DT Jonathan Lewis

One of the most highly recruited players in the state of Virginia, and in fact the country, is defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis of Varina High School in Richmond, Virginia. Lewis, who is 6-2, 290, runs a 4.8 forty and is ranked the #5 player in the state of Virginia by Doug Doughty. ranks him as a four-star player (out of 5 stars -- a classification that very few players get) and the #13 defensive tackle in the country. He is the brother of current Virginia Tech defensive tackle Kevin Lewis, who is redshirting this year and will have three years of eligibility remaining starting next season.

We caught up with Varina coach Gary Chilcoat this week and even talked to Jonathan himself for a few minutes, and here's what we found out.

"He's our second-leading tackler," Chilcoat says of Lewis. "Through 8 games, he's got 45 unassisted, 26 assisted, 4 sacks, 12 other tackles for loss, and a total lost yardage of 51 yards.

"His strength is his speed. Most of the teams around here try to run away from him, and that's just as bad, with his athletic ability, as running at him. When Florida State, Miami, Virginia, and Virginia Tech were all here watching one game, playing on the inside, the quarterback sprinted out, and Jonathan was about to sack him. Well, he spun out and ran the other way, and Jonathan chased him down from behind.

"He's full speed ahead. Just like most high-schoolers the way he'll improve is learning how to stay lower and learn to use his hands better. Wherever he goes to college, they'll teach him that."

Lewis has scheduled all five of his official visits. He will visit Penn State on 11/16, Virginia Tech on 12/7, Miami on 12/14, Florida State on 1/11, and Virginia on 1/18. Lewis is a slight lean to Tech at this point, and getting to play on the same defensive line with brother Kevin "is a factor," Jonathan says. The two of them played together for one year in high school, when Jonathan was in 9th grade and Kevin was a senior.

But although he favors Tech, Lewis also says that he won't make a decision until after he takes all five visits. He says that the most important factor in his decision is his "comfort level" with the school he chooses, and that most of the schools recruiting him are saying that he could play early.

A defensive tackle playing as a true freshman is a rarity these days in major college ball, but Chilcoat says that Lewis's 290 pounds are legit, not babyfat. "He's probably got bodyfat of 15%," he notes. Varina is known for having a top-notch strength and conditioning program, and Jonathan currently weighs about 40 pounds more than brother Kevin did as a Varina senior.

"Jonathan has always been bigger," Chilcoat says, "but over the years, our weightlifting program and offseason lifting has gotten better and better. When Kevin was coming through, we were just starting to perfect it, and now, with Jonathan, he's had really five years -- because he started as an 8th-grader -- in our program. And that's why he's so much bigger at this point.

"I get a lot of great ideas from (VT strength and conditioning coach) Coach Gentry," Chilcoat says, "and we use a lot of his philosophies in our program, and it shows."

Varina's coaches also use some of VT defensive line coach Charley Wiles' drills, and Chilcoat appears to think a lot of the Tech program in general. "We would really like to see him (Jonathan) stay in state. Our quarterback last year (Michael Robinson) ended up at Penn State, and we were hoping he would go to Virginia Tech. If Jonathan does end up at Virginia Tech, he's probably going to have his best opportunity to go on to the pros, just because of the program Tech has."

In other notes, Chilcoat says that Robinson, whom he saw three weeks ago, is perfectly happy at Penn State, despite rumors to the contrary. Robinson is currently still at quarterback for PSU, and even if he was switched to defense, would be happy in Happy Valley. "He's not used to losing, and that has really bothered him. But the opportunity that he'll have, either defensively or offensively, to be on the Big Ten 'star list,' was the big swing or the big selling point between Penn State and Tech. Him being in the Big Ten star list, whether it's on offense or defense, that'll keep him there for three or four years. He really likes the school and the environment."

Chilcoat also verified that when Kevin Lewis was a senior at Varina, that he favored UVa over the Hokies, but that "UVa told him they did not have a place for him." He notes that despite that, things have worked out well, and Kevin is very happy at Virginia Tech.

We have scheduled a more in-depth interview with Jonathan that we hope to conduct next week for inclusion in the next edition of the TSL Extra, due out on Wednesday, November 21st. To subscribe to the TSL Extra, please see our promotional notice at the bottom of this email.

To view the TSL recruiting database entry for Jonathan Lewis, click here.

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   News Items From the Past Week

Last Week's Game: holy smokes, the Hokies got slapped silly by Pitt, 38-7.
Click here for TSL's game recap.
Click here for TSL's post game analysis.

This Week's Game:
The Hokies will take on the Temple Owls at Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia, Saturday at noon. There is not TV coverage for the game, anywhere.
Click here to read TSL's game preview, including our score prediction.
Click here to download a roster card in PDF format
Click here to download a roster card with larger print.

TSL Features This Week:
Hokie Hotline Notes -- 11/6/01
Cheer Louder -- by Joel Kelly, 11/7/01
Beerman's Picks -- 11/7/01
Weekend Rooting Guide -- 11/8/01

Basketball Schedules Posted:
See Men's Hoops
See Women's Hoops

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Other News Items:
-- Tech's Nov. 17th game at Virginia will be played at 3:30 and will be televised by ESPN.

-- Bad news: projected starting point guard Eric Branham fractured his hand in practice this week and will be out indefinitely, probably for 2-6 weeks.

-- Tech defensive tackle David Pugh remains questionable for the Temple game after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the Hokies' loss to Pittsburgh. Tech trainer Mike Goforth said the decision to play Pugh will probably be made at game time. As for the rest of the Hokies, Larry Austin (hamstring), Derrius Monroe (hip flexor), Billy Hardee (knee), Jake Houseright (abdominal strain) and Nathaniel Adibi (shoulder) have been cleared to play. 

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