Jalen Lewis, a cornerback from Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, California, emerged from last month's University of Washington Rising Stars camp as the MVP for his position group.
A class of 2023 prospect, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound player did as much talking as he did playing while in Seattle, chatting up the Huskies' three defensive-backs coaches, the quality-control specialists and even Jimmy Lake.
The conversations went well with the UW coaching-staff members, who seemed familiar with his skill set and how to enhance it.
"They gave me all sorts of tips and tricks that will allow me to improve on the field," Lewis said. "I can tell that the coaches want me to succeed."
After being named the defensive-back camp MVP, Lewis hopes a Husky scholarship offer isn't far off. As 3-star recruit, he's already been offered by Arizona State, Oregon State, Southern Mississippi, Kansas and New Mexico.
He is well-versed in the legacy of the Husky defensive backs and motivated by it.
"It would be a huge honor," Lewis said of a potential offer. "I would love to be the next Budda [Baker] or Bookie [Radley-Hiles]."
With his recruitment affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, he's stayed focused on maintaining a positive outlook and a hard-working mentality.
He's recruiting the Huskies as much as they're recruiting him.
"I am the hardest worker on the field," Lewis said. "I want to show my coaches and the coaches at Washington that, when it's my turn to step up, I am more than prepared to play."
Lewis, he's hoping to be the latest iteration of undersized defensive backs who have been successful for the Huskies.
Radley-Hiles, a Californian new to the UW this spring after transferring from Oklahoma, is a family friend. Lewis knows all about the other compact Husky defensive backs such as Myles Bryant, Elijah Molden and Baker who have not let size get in their way in reaching the NFL.
"None of us pass the eye test, we know that," Lewis said. "So we have to prove ourselves time and time again, whenever we step out onto the field."
He's already learned that film study will help him get into the right formations and advance his technique to enable him to do his job.
At the Rising Stars Camp, Lewis thrived on the connection he made with the coaching staff and the opportunity to show off his 4.45-second speed in the 40-yard dash. He says his attitude makes him taller.
"I play as if I'm a 6-foot-3 player," Lewis said. "That's just my mentality."
Two years ago, Lewis visited the Washington campus with teammates and loved it. This visit the entire Lewis family visited the UW and liked the vibe, thinking it would be a good place for the oldest son. The recent camp experience only reaffirmed all of that for them.
Add to that the conversations Lewis has held with Radley-Hiles, giving him an inside look at the Husky team atmosphere.
"He told me that Washington is legit," Lewis said, "[that there's] a brotherhood in the locker room and on the field."
Back at Oaks Christian for his junior year, the speedy defensive back will continue to work on his game and make it difficult for the Huskies not to pursue him.