Freshmen Shaq Roland and Jerell Adams have already earned public praise from Steve Spurrier. Add Kaiwan Lewis to that list.
The 6-foot, 225-pound freshman linebacker from Hammonton, N.J., caught Spurrier’s eye on Saturday.
“He was flying around out there making some good hits and tackles,” Spurrier said. “I know he was impressive.”
Lewis, freshman T.J. Holloman and redshirt freshman Cedrick Cooper are competing for a spot in the rotation behind four senior linebackers.
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Lewis is working with Reginald Bowens and Damario Jeffery at the middle linebacker spot.
How are you learning the playbook so far?
I’m grasping it pretty quick, going through the meetings through the course of the days of camp. I’m learning as fast as I can. The older guys are really teaching me well.
Where do you feel like you fall on the depth chart?
I don’t know how the depth chart is looking. I know we do have seniors. I am looking forward to learning from them and learning how they play the game, learning how they catch onto things and doing what they do so they can make me a better player. Things happen through the course of a season. You never know when they are going to be calling on you. Whether it’s this year or my next three years, I’ll be ready to go.
What are your impressions of camp?
To me it’s just practice. Practice is practice. Just go hard. It’s a big learning experience for me because I want to catch onto things and be ready for when the season comes.
What is different from high school?
The pace of things. You get so much more done but it’s so much faster. You’re constantly on the go.
Any words of wisdom from your position coach, Kirk Botkin?
He’ll get on me when I’m doing things wrong. At the same time he is telling me that to try and help me to get better. I love him as a coach. He’s teaching me the best he can and I’m catching on well because of the way he’s teaching me. He’s been telling me to play my game and don’t get overwhelmed. Just let it come to you.
Any good advice from the seniors?
That’s the same thing the older guys are saying. Just let it come to you. You can put a lot of pressure on yourself. Coming from high school and being recruited and all that stuff, you feel like you have pressure on yourself to want to put out as bad as you want it. I’ve got to learn not to put so much pressure on me and just play the game and let it come to me.
Are you getting used to the speed of the SEC?
The game is definitely pretty fast. You’ve got receivers and running backs, and the linemen are fast. They’re getting up to you and you’re working your hands so you can get away from that. The speed of the game is fast everywhere.
Were you intrigued by the challenge of playing in the SEC?
That’s why I wanted to play in it. I’ve been told this is the best conference in the country. Why not be the best and go play with the best? The last couple national titles have been in the SEC. I said I want to go compete with the best and hopefully we can get the same.
How much exposure did you have to the SEC being in New Jersey?
A lot. I was getting recruited by basically all the sec schools. I committed knowing that was where I wanted to play.
- Compiled by Dwayne McLemore