The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE 62 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2020 BY AUSTIN FOX Williamstown (N.J.) High three-star defen- sive end Aaron Lewis was perhaps a bit over- shadowed amongst the defensive end haul the Wolverines signed this past December, with Port Huron (Mich.) Northern's Braiden Mc- Gregor often stealing the headlines at the spot due to his locality and four-star status. When two of the sport's top recruiting experts — longtime na- tional recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, cur- rently of CBS Sports, and Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman — were asked in separate conversa- tions this past February who the most underrated player in Michigan's 2020 signing class is, Lewis' name was the first one out of each of their mouths. "In my opinion, Aaron was the best defensive player in the state of New Jersey last season," Williamstown High head coach Frank Fucetola said. "He's everything you look for in a defensive player — aggressive, fast and nasty. The perfect phrase to de- scribe Aaron would be 'high motor at all times.' "His biggest strength is his overall knowledge of the game, especially from a defensive standpoint. Aaron is such a competitor and only wants to win. We've been 24-2 the last two years with back-to-back state cham- pionships, and he was a huge part of both of those. Michigan is getting a good one in Aaron." Lewis is one of eight early enrollees at U-M, having joined the Michigan program this winter to get a head start on his collegiate career. He's unlikely to earn a starting role next season with senior Kwity Paye and junior Aidan Hutchinson expected to re-gain their starting jobs from last year as U-M's defensive ends, but the door is wide open for playing time behind the duo with almost nothing except inexperience residing on the unit's depth chart (redshirt junior Luiji Vilain will be the next most experienced player at the position in 2020, but only played 47 snaps last season). "I think Aaron will have an impact immediately at Michigan, because he has the perfect size," Fucetola noted. "He can play either defensive end or linebacker if they need him to, and maybe even defensive tackle. Aaron was 240 pounds when he left us and is right around 260 right now [though Michigan listed him at 235 pounds when he signed his letter of intent Dec. 18]. I spoke with him [Feb. 5] and he's really enjoying himself so far at Michigan. He's lik- ing the college life there and all the workouts they're having him do. "I'm not surprised he's fitting right in, because Aaron is just a bundle of joy. He always has high energy and is a happy-go-lucky kid, but then brings it once it's time to play football." ❑ Aaron Lewis Tabbed As U-M's 'Most Underrated' Prospect Lewis earned several first-team all-state honors over his final two prep campaigns in New Jersey. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM 2020 Projection Lewis will benefit from enrolling early and being a part of a college weight training program earlier than other freshmen. Listed at only 235 pounds, he has some room to grow, physically. He likely won't crack the rotation in 2020, but could be a key contributor down the road at either the strongside defensive end spot or inside at defensive tackle. AARON LEWIS DEFENSIVE LINEMAN 6-5 • 235 WILLIAMSTOWN H.S. WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE ✪ ✪ ✪ — 35* 17 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 271 10* 7 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ — 32^ 9 * Ranked as a strongside defensive end; ^ ranked as a defensive end STATISTICS Year Tackles TFL Sacks 2019 67 22 10 2018 102 25 6 2017 74 17 7 HONORS • The Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed him the South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year as both a junior and senior. • Was named first-team All-State as a junior and senior by USA Today, The South Jersey Times and • Helped his team win back-to-back sectional titles for the first time ever. The 2019 squad went 12-1, won a re- gional championship and was ranked No. 5 in New Jersey by MaxPreps. RECRUITMENT • Committed on June 23, 2019. • Was committed to West Virginia, but flipped to U-M two days after his official visit in Ann Arbor. • Also had offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and others. DID YOU KNOW? • Ended the 2019 sectional and re- gional title games with sacks, includ- ing a sack-fumble in the sectional. • He enrolled early at U-M. THEY SAID IT • Michigan head coach Jim Har- baugh: "Nobody compares to Aaron Lewis' energy and enthusiasm. … [He's] at the highest level of enthu- siasm and energy, and he plays that way. He's always running from sideline to sideline and is extremely athletic." • Longtime national recruiting an- alyst Tom Lemming: "Aaron Lewis is a sleeper I'd single out. I really like him and think he'll be an impact player in a couple years, though he also needs to add weight and strength, but he has length and the great first step that all the good ones have."

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