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June 17, 2008Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy running back Dion Lewis came to Pittsburgh on Friday looking to pick up an offer from the Panthers. That offer came, and two days later Lewis decided to accept that offer.
"I committed to Pitt on Sunday," Lewis told PantherLair.com "I talked to my parents about it and I really liked the school, so I called Coach Hafley and he put Coach Wansntedt on and I spoke to him and then I spoke to Coach Walker.
"They were all excited to have me."
Lewis' visit to Pitt on Friday was intended to be a meet-and-greet with the Panthers' coaching staff, and he also took the opportunity to tour Pitt's campus and facilities.
"I learned a lot when I was out there and I saw a lot of things I didn't expect," he said. "I like the coaches a lot: they're really down to earth. I like the facilities and it's a great program that's really on the rise.
"The most important thing was that I felt really comfortable with the coaches. We've been talking for a month and a half and they were all really straight-forward with me.
"I also compared Pitt's offense to the other schools' offense, and I felt like I could be more productive in Pitt's offense. It's more of a pro-style offense and they like to use running back out of the backfield.
"And I just like where they're going as a program: they're headed for big places."
Lewis, 5'7" 182, said that the Pitt coaches also think that he is headed for big places, regardless of his size.
"They like that I have great speed and I'm a smaller back that can break tackles and make people miss in the open field. Plus, they saw me play defense so they know I can make sticks on people because I'm going to have to block.
"They said I can do the three things they need a running back to do: block, run, and catch."
While sharing carries with two other Division I players (Florida State signee Ed Imeokparia and Cincinnati commit Angel Clybourn), Lewis gained 979 yards and 14 touchdowns on 79 carries (12.4 yards per carry; 5.6 carries per touchdown). He also caught 10 passes for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With his commitment to Pitt in place, Lewis said that he is done with recruiting.
"I'm 100% solid; as solid as it gets. Now I'm just going to work hard and prepare for the coming season."
Lewis is Pitt's second commitment in the class of 2009, and he joins Stoneboro (PA) Lakeview offensive lineman Cory King as the Panthers' pledges.
Chris Peak can be contacted at email@example.com