California’s top wide receiver prospect is staying in the Golden State again. Five-star Joseph Lewis announced in a televised ceremony on Wednesday that he’ll play for USC, following in the footsteps of Bishop Amat Memorial High’s Tyler Vaughns a year ago. Lewis picked the Trojans over Nebraska. Moments later, his teammate at Augustus F. Hawkins High in Los Angeles, four-star athlete Greg Johnson, revealed that he'll join Lewis in cardinal and gold.
Lewis's decision was not surprising, as he had long been considered a USC lean, and he took an official visit to the school’s campus the weekend before National Signing Day. Though the Cornhuskers have succeeded recruiting in California this cycle (three Scout 300 signees), a recent commitment from four-star class of 2018 cornerback Eric Fuller, a teammate of Lewis’s at Augustus F. Hawkins High, provided false hope. Lewis wasn’t leaving Los Angeles.
His choice punctuates a strong closing stretch for the Trojans in this recruiting cycle. In the two weeks leading up to signing day, USC flipped one of the nation’s top defensive tackles, Central (Ore.) High’s Marlon Tuipulotu, from Washington and secured a commitment from a heralded defensive back out of Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) High, Isaiah Pola-Mao. The Trojans got more great news on Wednesday: Johnson, Westlake (Texas) four-star linebacker Levi Jones, North Canyon (Ariz.) High five-star offensive tackle Austin Jackson, Bingham (Utah) five-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele and Inderkum (Calif.) High four-star tight end Josh Falo all announced for USC.
Lewis could be its most important late pickup. He’s a strong, athletic pass-catcher prized for his route-running and ability to win battles for jump balls. Scout.com rates him the No. 2 wide receiver in the country, behind only Michigan signee and Cass Technical (Mich.) High product Donovan Peoples-Jones, and the No. 24 prospect overall.
The addition of Lewis and Johnson comes at a favorable time for USC, as the program is losing its two most productive receivers (JuJu Smith Schuster and Darreus Rogers), as well as all-purpose threat Adoree’ Jackson, this off-season. Lewis will provide another weapon for sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Sam Darnold in an offense that brings back talented playmakers like running back Ronald Jones II and tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe.
Here is Scout.com’s complete scouting report on Lewis:
Lewis is young for his grade but has a college body right now. He has size, down field speed, is a fluid route runner and catches the ball very well. He has excellent body control, is an explosive leaper and is great in jump ball situations. Lewis really elevated his game last spring on the 7v7 circuit dominating against high level competition. As he continues to fill out and add strength, his game will rise to another level.