Albuquerque (N.M.) La Cueva High School
NR: 18 SR: 1 Star Rating: ****
An Inside Texas conversation with La Cueva head coach Fred Romero on Aaron Lewis:
IT: What are Aaron’s strengths as a football player?
Romero: "He has a strong commitment to be real successful. He’s a very coachable young man. He’s got great lower body strength in his legs. He comes from a real good background. His family supports him really well."
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you they like about Aaron?
Romero: "They liked his speed and strength, especially with him being 265, 270 and able to run a 4.6. He’s got great character. He’s a young man that’s going to be at practice everyday. He’s going to listen and do what he’s told. They just like the way he plays."
IT: What are the areas of Aaron’s game that he needs to improve upon to be successful in college?
Romero: "He needs to improve his upper body strength a little bit. He needs to be able to finish the play at the game speed of major college football. He’ll have to get used to that."
IT: Is Aaron a leader, and if so, how does he lead?
Romero: "He is a leader. He leads vocally and gets the rest of his teammates involved in the game. He gets excited, plays hard and is extremely tough. He kind of leads by example too. He’s real likeable. He’s going to hoot and holler and have fun on the field. There’s that part of him, but he just really loves the game."
IT: What made Aaron such a dominating defensive player in high school?
Romero: "He’s really a great pass rusher. He loves to pass rush. He puts fear into the eyes of the quarterback. They always want to know where he is. His junior year when he had 25 sacks really brought him in the national limelight, but people knew he was good when he was a sophomore. He had a college body at that particular time. It’s very rare to have a guy like that."
IT: What did Aaron mean to your football program?
Romero: "He’s been a three-year starter. He was a leader on defense, which was great all season and nationally ranked. Part of that was him being contagious to the rest of the guys. We’ve got some big shoes to fill. People adjusted a lot to double- and triple-team him so it left other guys available to play defense. He was a big part of our team and our program. He had a choice to go anywhere in Albuquerque and he picked La Cueva. We’re just happy it all worked for him and his family."
IT: What is something most people do not know about Aaron?
Romero: "He’s got great family roots. He really believes in the family life. He’s a player that is perfect for Texas. He went to a few places and really didn’t just fit in. He’s everything that you ever want out of an athlete. He’s hard working. He loves the weight room."
IT: Aaron’s father is an Air Force chaplain. How much has Aaron’s upbringing in a military family impacted him?
Romero: "He’s a yes sir, no sir guy all the time. He doesn’t talk back to you. He has a good work ethic. He’s real close to his family. He’s real close to his dad. They have a bond. He’s real big into relationships, the relationship with his coaching staff. He felt that at Texas. He had a relationship with the defensive coaches and felt really comfortable. He’s a real honest and trustworthy type of young man that is going to do the right thing."
IT: What are your overall thoughts on Aaron?
Romero: "He’s a real fine young man. He’s really motivated to be a great football player. He wants to play in the NFL someday. He just doesn’t want to go to Texas and sit on the sidelines. He really wants to play and contribute right away."
IT: How do you see Aaron fitting in at Texas?
Romero: "Well, I’m not sure what they have at the upper levels grade-wise, but he’s going to come in there like he’s preparing right now to be the best that he can. He wants to be in the best shape and best strength. If he can contribute, he will. If they want him to redshirt, he’ll do that too. He’ll be ready when they need him whether it’s his freshman year or if he has to wait a year."
IT: When Aaron’s career is over at Texas, how will he be remembered?
Romero: "They’re going to remember him making great plays and sacking the quarterback. He’s going to have a great smile on his face. He’s going to make Texas proud that they took the chance on recruiting him and giving him the opportunity to play there. They’re going to remember him for his sacking ability in getting up field and pressuring the quarterback. His goal is to help Texas win a national championship. He helped us do that extremely well. He comes from a championship school and wants to do the same thing there."
UT Signing Day Bio: Three-year letterman at defensive end who was a Parade All-America selection … played in the 2005 U.S. Army All-America Bowl … also saw time at offensive tackle as a junior and split time between linebacker, fullback and tight end as a freshman … a two-time first-team All-State selection … had 238 tackles, 48.5 sacks, 153 pressures, six blocked punts, 10 PBDs, six fumble recoveries and four safeties in his career … named 2004 New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year … a first-team All-State selection as a senior … recorded 93 tackles, 17 sacks, three blocked punts, two PBDs, two safeties and two fumble recoveries, including one for a TD, that season … posted two sacks, nine tackles, one fumble recovery and 10 pressures his senior year versus Clovis … a first-team All-State selection at both defensive end and offensive tackle as a junior … set a state record with 25.5 sacks that season … also registered 89 tackles, five PBDs, one blocked punt, three fumble recoveries, one safety and two blocked kicks … led his team to a 13-0 record and the state 5A title in 2003 … also competed in track and field … was a state champion in the shot put as a junior and finished third in the discus … placed sixth in the shot put and eighth in the discus as a sophomore … a prep honor roll student … gave a motivational speech for La Cueva 12-year-old Young America Football League athletes … worked at the La Cueva junior football camp for three years … instructor for youth weightlifting class for three years … was a mentor for middle school youth group at his church … worked with mentally handicapped children at a horse ranch as a freshman … enjoys playing paintball and video games and sang in the choir in elementary school and middle school… father ran track and played soccer at Methodist College in North Carolina … has also lived in Woodbridge, England; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Wheaton, Ill.; and San Antonio … born July 27, 1986, at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida.
"I hit it off with the coaches and players really well. It's a great atmosphere and it's a great team to go to. Austin is a beautiful city and The University of Texas has a beautiful campus. My religion is important to me, and I prayed about it a lot, and I felt called to go there more than any other place. I felt humbled and at peace going to Texas."
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