Wide receiver recruiting has been interesting to follow this cycle in regards to Texas — both in good and bad ways. On one hand, the Longhorns already have three four-star commitments in Jake Smith, Jordan Whittington, and Demariyon Houston. But on the other hand they suffered a bad loss to Ohio State with local five-star Garrett Wilson and another local stud in Elijah Higgins, who is seriously considering Stanford and Florida.
With Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey having successful junior campaigns and potentially declaring for the NFL Draft after the season, the Texas staff is trying to restock the pantry with talented pass catchers. Texas likes big-bodied wide receivers to man the outside spots, and that makes former TCU commit Kennedy Lewis a fit.
After making an official visit to Austin for the Baylor game it didn’t take Lewis very long to re-open his recruitment, and with the Longhorns pushing, it didn’t take him long to give his pledge to Tom Herman and the Longhorns.
Name: Kennedy Lewis
High School: Melissa
City & State: Melissa, TX
2016: 11 recs, 297 yards (27 YPC), 5 TDs
2017: 48 recs, 1099 yards (22.89 YPC), 11 TDs, 1 INT
- Possesses good size (6’3, 190) and fits the profile that Texas looks for in outside receivers.
- Possesses long arms and could end up being a specimen once he hits a college weight room.
- His athleticism and body movements have improved over time. His cuts and burst have continued to improve into his senior year and is a good sign for his development.
- Looks to be a solid route runner and shows some ability to get separation from defensive backs.
- May not blow by you on his release, but has some deceptiveness in his movements that allows him to get separation.
- Going to win his share of 50/50 balls due his size and ability to go up and get the ball.
- Shows the ability to break tackles and gain yards after the catch.
- Hands seem to be improving over time, as he is becoming less of a body catcher and is trusting his hands more.
- Demonstrates the ability to high point the football, and will also go horizontally or lay out for the tough catches.
- Shows on tape that he is both a willing and capable blocker. Uses his frame to his advantage against defensive backs and will drive them out of the play.
- Lacks good or great straight line speed. The listed 4.5 looks a tad generous when watching his tape.
- For a possession receiver, I expected to see more tackle breaking and yards after the catch.
- Showed a tendency to body catch, but seems to be improving in that aspect.
- Hope to see more like his junior tape. Shows flashes of being able to dominate his competition, but needs to do it more consistently.
- Possesses good athleticism, but needs to be unlocked more when he is suited up in pads.
Kennedy Lewis is a three-year varsity starter that hails from Melissa (TX), just outside of the Metroplex. At 6’3, 190 pounds, Lewis possesses good size and also has long arms that profile him to either the X or Z wide receiver spot. Lewis boasts good athleticism and logged some impressive track times, but I want to see that athleticism continue to be unlocked on the field. His junior and senior film shows that his burst and decisiveness in his body movements are improving, so I think there is a chance he continues to develop as long as he gets into a quality strength and conditioning program and has the right position coach. Lewis doesn’t currently show great straight line speed on tape, which was a bit of a disappointment given his listed 4.5 40 time, but he does show some subtle movements and deceptiveness that allows him to get separation from defensive backs both in routes and at the LOS.
One thing I took notice to early in his tape was that he has a tendency to catch with his body rather than his hands. As I continued to work through the tape, however, I saw that he was improving in that aspect. Lewis shows on tape that he has an ability to high point the football and uses his size to his advantage to win 50/50 balls. He also shows the ability to lay out horizontally and make the tough catches. Lewis plays on both sides of the ball for Melissa, and his aggressive demeanor he acquired on defense seems to have made the transition to his blocking on offense. Lewis shows that he is not only willing, but is also a capable blocker. He is able to use his size to his advantage to wall off defenders and drive them out of the play. Overall Lewis is a very good physical specimen that has a chance to really fill out in the circumstances, but needs to fine tune some aspects of his game before he can contribute at the next level. I think it is pretty likely that he redshirts when he arrives on campus.
Flipping a commit from a conference rival like TCU always gets the stamp of approval because the Horned Frogs are notorious for evaluating well. In this case Texas previously offered Lewis but hadn’t necessarily pressed, which allowed TCU to land his commitment early on. Success on the field and the performance of Johnson and Humphrey may have opened the door for Texas to circle back in this case, and the Longhorns were able to dial up the heat and flip Lewis from the Horned Frogs.
As mentioned before, Lewis profiles perfectly to what Texas is looking for in their outside receivers and it compliments what they already have in the boat perfectly. Lewis possesses a good amount upside and untapped potential, but hopefully he won’t be pressed into action before he needs to be. The numbers at wide receiver are going to be interesting from here on out, but it’s hard not to trust the Texas staff’s judgment considering the results to date on their evaluations since arriving.
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