Graphic Credit: Logan French
- - -
- - -
Fredrick Douglass senior Christian Lewis has signed with the University of South Carolina on Wednesday.
The Kentucky native and high school long jumper announced his National Letter of Intent amongst friends, family and local media this afternoon.
Lewis, No. 40 on MileSplit's Class of 2020 Top 50 Recruits, gave us the first inside look behind his decision.
"This is like a dream come true," Lewis said. "I used to always watch on TV the SEC Championships and see people jumping, like Marquis Dendy and KeAndre Bates from Florida. I see them and I knew I wanted to go to a SEC school; I wanted to do exactly what they're doing. And then to be in a position where I'm about to do it and compete and stuff. I'm a hard worker, so I know I can compete at a high level and with a coach like Coach Dee, we're going to do something special."
Throughout his recruiting, people around Lewis wanted him to stay and compete in Kentucky. But when he visited the Gamecocks in early September in Columbia, he said he was hooked.
"After that [visiting South Carolina], I was like man they set the bar very high," he said. "So, these next ones, they have to have a distinct different thing for me to want to go to those. I had a feeling it was like a no brainer right there. I also liked the weather too; I don't like the cold. But overall, South Carolina fit in with things I had in mind for where I wanted to go."
When Lewis met some of the team, he felt like he was a part of their brotherhood almost immediately. He said it was like the connection he would have with someone he talks with every day.
"I knew I could go to them if I needed help with something, ask about stuff since I'll be a freshman and they'll be older than me," Lewis said. "This is the type of connection I want with my teammates."
With his decision, Lewis will be under the guidance of assistant head coach Delethea Quarles, who was part of the Team USA staff at the 2019 IAAF World Championships. Last season, she coached recent graduate Yann Randrianasolo to a third-place finish in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Recalling a conversation he had with Quarles on the last day of his visit, Lewis said his future coach thinks she can do some great things together. But in order to prepare himself for the next level, the Frederick Douglass senior knows the work doesn't stop after signing his National Letter of Intent.
"I'm going to be working my butt off," he said. "It'll be like starting back over from middle school to high school, except this time, you have money on the line, you have bigger things to do. ...So, this year, it's showtime. I'm not coming with no games this year. I got way more focus than last year, and I got even more to prove, not just nationally, but to myself."