Florida tight end commit C’yontai Lewis has been a regular in the news over the past few days.
Prior to competing in last weekend’s IMG Academy national championship tournament, Lewis stopped by UF on Friday with his 7-on-7 team, which included his cousin and Alabama running back commit Bo Scarbrough.
It was Lewis’ second visit to Gainesville in less than a week after camping at Florida on June 15. He enjoyed seeing the UF staff again, especially tight ends coach and primary recruiter Derek Lewis.
“Coach D-Lew makes me feel like I’m his son, all of the coaches do,” Lewis said. “I’m never met a coaching staff that made me feel that way. They wanted me to go to IMG and show out for them. So that’s what I went and did.”
Lewis was named one of the top offensive performers by Rivals.com following the event. Southeast recruiting analyst Kynon Codrington wrote this about the 6-foot-6, 211-pounder.
“Lewis is a big target with a wide catch radius. He needs to add weight to stay at tight end when he arrives at the next level. At this stage, he is a jumbo wideout who uses his body well to shield off defenders. If he can continue to develop his frame and polish his route-running, he has a chance to be a solid pass-catching tight end in college.”
The recognition meant a lot to Lewis, who is an unranked, two-star prospect on Rivals and has a three-star rating on all other recruiting sites.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “That was my first time doing something like that. I had never been to any camps before I went to Florida’s, so I haven’t been able to get noticed. So knowing people thought I performed that well makes me good about myself.”
Lewis’ performance, however, wasn’t what drew the most attention at IMG. Following one of his touchdown receptions, he gave former Florida and Auburn quarterback Cam Newton the Gator Chomp. The Carolina Panthers signal-caller was reportedly not amused and told the guy next to him that Lewis was “so disrespectful.”
The UF commit said the celebration was his response to trash talk that he heard from Newton and his father, Cecil.
“Before the tournament, Cam’s dad kept on saying his son’s team was going to beat us,” Lewis said. “When (Cam) was watching our game, he laughed when we did something wrong. So when I caught the pass and scored, I saw him at the back of the end zone and just chomped him up.
“I thought he would have been cool with it, but he took it the wrong way. I was just doing it have fun. I wasn’t trying to make him mad. When I was in middle school and he played for Auburn, he used to be my favorite player. But it’s whatever. He’s Gator bait now.”
Lewis plans to return to Florida with Scarbrough for Friday Night Lights on July 26. He’ll also spend the summer trying to find a new school.
On Tuesday, the Alabama High School Athletic Association ruled Lewis ineligible because he didn’t make a “bona fide move” when he transferred from Greene County to Northridge in 2012 and then from Northridge to Tuscaloosa County earlier this month.
He now has to attend a private school and is leaning toward Tuscaloosa Academy.
“They won the state championship last year, so I’ll probably go there,” Lewis said. “I’ll definitely be playing football my senior year.”