LaPlace (LA) East St. John offensive lineman Patrick Lewis took a little longer than expected to make a commitment but, in the end, the wait was certainly worth it for Texas A&M. The 6-foot-2, 293-pound four-star prospect called the staff on Friday and told three Aggie coaches that he was committing to A&M.
However, Lewis was originally slated to make a decision shortly after taking an unofficial visit to Louisiana Tech on July 18 with a couple of high school teammates so that he could focus on his high school season. However, he delayed it because (in his words) "I don't want my emotions to be mixed up in my decisions". As a result, Lewis says he depended on a higher power to help him with the decision.
"I prayed on it and my family prayed really hard about it," said the Rivals250 lineman. "One day I just woke up and was ready to be an Aggie."
Going into his Louisiana Tech visit, Lewis gave A&M a slight edge over the other programs recruiting him because of head coach Mike Sherman and his background in coaching as well as the school's academics.
"The staff has NFL experience and I could get some top-level coaching from coach Sherman who was a great offensive line coach," Stewart said in a July 18 interview with AggieYell.com. "The academics are pretty good. They are pretty highly ranked in my field (business management)."
However, in the end, it was more of a feeling about the school, its traditions, and its people that convinced Lewis to become an Aggie.
"I really liked everything about Texas A&M," he said. "Don't get me wrong about the other schools - there was just something inside me that was all A&M. The people were supportive. It was one of the largest networks (of former students) as far as getting a job after football. I just loved everything about Texas A&M."
After Lewis prayed on the decision Thursday night, he committed to A&M at about noon on Friday by calling defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, who recruited Lewis for the Aggies. He also had a chance to speak with his future position coach in Jim Turner.
"The first person I called was coach Wyatt and he gave the phone to coach Turner, the offensive line coach," said Lewis. "I then talked to coach Sherman since he was on his way to a meeting and not on campus. They were real excited. They said that they can't wait until the 2009 offensive line class is up there. They are ready to win championships and bowl games.
"I also got a chance to talk to other offensive line commits Stephen Barrera and Rhontae Scales. They were real friendly and talking about going up there and winning ballgames."
Lewis was clear throughout the process that his family would be an important part of his decision and he says that was exactly the case.
"My family was fine with it," he said. "They love it. I knew my dad wanted me to go to A&M. He said that he would be behind my decision. My aunt lives there in Houston. I told her a couple of minutes after I talked to A&M. She was really excited being just right down the road. My whole family is ready to take that little trip down to A&M for the games."
Lewis originally asked AggieYell.com to hold off on going public with the commitment so that he could call the coaching staffs at the other schools that were recruiting him and tell them that he was going elsewhere. However, Lewis finally felt that he couldn't wait any longer to go public.
"I still haven't talked to the other coaches yet," he said on Monday afternoon. "I wanted to keep my word and give you the story on Monday. I didn't want them to get on the computer where they saw me committed to A&M. I will call them tomorrow."
Lewis represented the first of a trifecta of sorts for the A&M staff in Louisiana over the last few days as linebackers Michael Lamothe from New Iberia and Jonathan Stewart from Shreveport Byrd followed Lewis' commitment with their own. In fact, it's the most successful year that the Aggies have had in Louisiana since the early 1990's and Lewis laughingly even suggested a headline to crown the events of the last few days.
"Oh man, then Lamothe and then Stewart," he said. "We will have to add another title 'A&M Raids Louisiana again.'"
Lewis is rated a four-star offensive lineman, is a member of the Rivals 250 and is the No. 15-rated offensive guard in country by the network. He is also the No. 12-ranked prospect in the state of Louisiana.
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