Two SEC East rivals appear to be lined up for a battle over a top running back prospect. Peyton Lewis (6-1 190) of Salem, VA said Wednesday night he’ll be naming a top six soon, but right now South Carolina and Tennessee have emerged as the strongest contenders. He visited the Gamecocks in mid-March and is going to Tennessee Friday for a weekend stay to include the Vols’ spring game.
USC running backs coach Monterio Hardesty, himself a former star at Tennessee, has been working on Lewis for the Gamecocks and against his alma mater.
“It’s been a lot of conversations, catching up and keeping that connection strong and fresh,” Lewis said. “I haven’t had a time set up to go to South Carolina yet, but I did plan an official visit for June 9th. June 3rd, I have states for outdoor track, and then June 9th I’m going to South Carolina. June 15th we’re going to Oregon for outdoor track nationals, and the 23rd we’re going to Tennessee for an official visit.”
Lewis added that the visit to USC a month ago still resonates with him.
“Man, South Carolina is still fresh in my mind,” Lewis said. “It still remains top two for me. I can definitely still see myself as a Gamecock. I really enjoyed my time there when I was there. Getting to see the coaches in person was very beneficial for me.”
As he weighs the two primary options in his mind, Lewis said there are a couple of key factors that will come into play with his decision.
“Vast difference I can say, South Carolina is farther away from home than Tennessee is, but I’ve been in and out of South Carolina because I have family in Florence,” Lewis said. “I’ve also been in and out of Tennessee as well. They are neck to neck for me. I have talked NIL potential with South Carolina. I have not talked to Tennessee yet. I’m just trying to get all the factors in, get all the pros and cons for each school because I still don’t know everything yet. By the time I take my officials I should have a full list and be able to weigh my decision.”
NIL potential, of course, now plays a major role in the recruiting process. Lewis said what he learned from USC about their program greatly impressed him.
“I feel great about the NIL potential and what they have for me if I go there,” Lewis said. “Kind of shocked me, the number that I heard. It’s kind of crazy. Still just weighing my options and trying to see what Tennessee has to provide.”
Lewis has also been to Virginia, Virginia Tech, Nebraska and Ohio State. He is also going to Alabama for their spring game April 22nd. But he’s almost ready to take this process to the finish line.
“Should be dropping my top six by the end of this week I’m pretty sure,” Lewis said. “I should be finally making my decision around July, maybe even sooner. I’ve been narrowing it down a lot. If I have a very good top two that I’m strong with, I might just go from six to two. It could be anytime.”
Last season Lewis rushed for 1560 yards and 17 touchdowns.