Norco (Calif.) standout Deantre Lewis, a first-team all-region running back in the talented-rich Inland Empire area of Southern California, provided Arizona State with a commitment Monday, selecting the school over offers from Oregon, Oregon State and UTEP, and serious interest from UCLA.
Lewis visited ASU unofficially in late April, took similar trips to Oregon and Oregon State, and had coaches from all three programs visit his school in recent days prior to his decision.
"I loved the coaches, the facilities and the players at ASU and it seems like a great school academically from what I heard too," Lewis said. "It was a great college atmosphere. It just felt like it was a right fit when I was there on my visit. It made me feel at home. I visited Oregon and Oregon State too. I felt more at home at ASU with the players and coaches."
As a junior, the 5-foot-11, 195 pound Lewis rushed for 1,836 yards on 224 attempts (8.2 yards per carry) with 21 touchdowns. He had two games in which he rushed for over 300 yards, including a 321-yard six touchdown performance against J.W. North.
Making his production all the more impressive, Lewis said he suffered a high ankle sprain in the third week of the season and continued to play on it until the team's elimination from the semifinal round of the playoffs.
I personally don't think I had that great of a season because I was hurt most of the season," Lewis said. "I never took a break on the ankle. I just grinded it out.
"The season started a bit shaky because we had an all new line but they really showed me something and I was very appreciative of how they played. And our team had a pretty good year. But I think we can do even better this coming season and I can put up even bigger numbers."
Lewis was one of two running backs selected to the Riverside Press-Enterprise first-team all-area squad, the other being Rivals250 recruit Deontae Cooper at Citrus Hill High School in Perris, Calif.
ASU is recruiting Lewis as a running back, which is his preferred position, while several of the other schools were recruiting him as an athlete, due to his ability as a defensive back.
"Reggie Bush is the guy I look up to," Lewis said. "I'm kind of like him when running between the tackles. I'm a downhill runner; I run hard, cut when I have to cut, not too many dance moves."
Three former teammates of Lewis -- linemen Garth Gerhart, Adam Tello and Kyle Johnson -- are already on the football team at ASU, and Gerhart's father, Todd Gerhart, is the head coach at Norco.
"It helped a lot having my former teammates there," Lewis said. "They showed me around and we went to their place and also went to a softball game together. I hadn't really thought about having all those former [offensive line] teammates also blocking for me in college, that's pretty funny."
Following the de-commitment of Josh Fulton last week, the Sun Devils now have two verbal commits, the other also being a running back, Chandler (Ariz.) standout Taylor Walstad.