Many times a high school athlete with offers from the top programs in college football is one of the best athletes on the field, if not the best.
However, when they make their way to the college of choice, they’re just another guy.
In high school a player can rely solely on athleticism to make plays and get noticed, but when you’re playing football in the Southeastern Conference, the game requires much more than just athleticism. Many times it just takes a couple of season to learn what it takes to compete at the highest level of college football before you’re able to truly contribute on the field.
MSU freshman receiver Jameon Lewis may very well fall into this category.
As a high school senior at Tylertown High School, he led the Chiefs to the Class 3A State Title, while completing 75-of-137 passes for the season totaling 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also added 18 scores on 200 carries for 1,182 yards during the season.
Needless to say at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds Lewis made electrifying plays.
The high school career of this Class 3A player of the year led many to be excited for his arrival on the MSU campus.
Now two years later, many are still waiting for Lewis to play a significant role for the Bulldogs.
“He is a guy who is learning to be a receiver,” said MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning. “If you put the ball in his hands and let him run around, he’s used to doing that. But learning how to be a receiver, catch, running routes and all that is that next step.”
Lewis sat out the 2010 season as his redshirt season.
Entering 2011, he was expected to be the playmaker that added a dimension of speed and elusiveness to the offensive attack of the Bulldogs.
In the season opener against Memphis, Lewis earned his opportunity and showcased his speed with 152 all-purpose yards and two scores. His outstanding evening also featured a miscue on special teams when he caught an ill-advised kick out of bounds, simply showing he was a young player who needed to learn a few things before he could truly get on the field full-time.
Since that game, Lewis has all but disappeared from the MSU gameplan, catching just seven passes for 143 yards. He also had 11 carries for 86 yards this season.
All that aside, Lewis feels he has made strides this season and is ready to help the Bulldogs in the Music City Bowl.
“I’ve had to learn a lot this season,” said Lewis. “The game moves fast and I’ve just had to adjust to all the things that are going on. I feel like I’ve learned this season and I’m ready to help my team in Nashville.”
In talking with the coaching staff they will quickly tell you Lewis has made progress and the fans on hand for the bowl scrimmage saw first-hand his progress.
“It was a lot of fun out there running around,” Lewis said of his two scores during the scrimmage. “I was planning on somebody tackling me but they didn’t go for the legs so I just kept pumping my feet and my teammates were helping me move the pile.”
Lewis and the Bulldogs report to Nashville today in order to begin their on-site bowl preparation with the Demon Deacons waiting for a Friday showdown in the Music City Bowl.