Recruiting, according to Williamstown’s Aaron Lewis, comes down to the small details.
When trying to sum up his relationship with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, chocolate milk came to mind.
“I still remember my first visit — I had told him one of my favorite things in the world is chocolate milk. First thing I see sitting right there waiting for me [on his first visit] is this big thing of chocolate milk,” said Lewis, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound defensive end for Williamstown.
“That’s my guy,” Lewis said of his relationship with Harbaugh.
And the Michigan recruit said he’s shaking off recent talk of the veteran coach possibly considering a return to the NFL.
In fact, Lewis said the coach directly addressed it with him via text.
“He shut it down — he sent a text to all of us [recruits] telling us that those rumors are not true,” said Lewis, one of the most imposing and dynamic athletes in the state.
Despite the larger-than-life reputation and feel of the Michigan program, Lewis said he was drawn to the school because of all of the personal touches he encountered during the recruiting process.
That wasn’t the first text he’d received from Harbaugh. In fact, Lewis said he and Harbaugh text and talk on the phone often.
“He texts me before almost every game, he calls sometimes, he even talks to my mother,” Lewis said.
“That’s what you need,” Lewis added with a smile, “you want a coach who calls the mother. Because the mother wants to be involved, too — and she might get angry when she’s not.”
Lewis said his bond with Michigan became stronger after he had initially committed to West Virginia in April — just another one of a host of big-time schools recruiting him.
At that point, Michigan ramped up its courtship of Lewis — including inviting him to watch the Michigan-Ohio State game on the sideline at Ohio Stadium — and eventually won him over by June.
As strong as his relationship is with Harbaugh, Lewis said he wouldn’t be deterred even if the coach left.
He said he has strong ties with other coaches on staff and is especially excited to be a part of a recruiting class considered one of the strongest in the country.
That class includes Delran’s RJ Moten, a baseball and football player whom Lewis said he has grown close with through this process and will room with at Michigan.
Currently, Lewis is a linchpin for one of South Jersey’s most dominant and, particularly, most physical defenses. The team is 8-0, has recorded five shutouts, and has allowed just 35 points all season.
Williamstown is 20-1 over the last two seasons — with one loss coming in last year’s Group 5 state title game to Sayreville.
Lewis has visions of continuing these dominant trends at Michigan. He hopes Harbaugh can join him.
“I’m going to ride with him and he’s going to ride with me — we built this relationship after a long period of time,” Lewis said. “But [either way], I’m going to stick with that program. I’m trying to go win a ‘natty’ [national title] with the people in my class.
“I think it’s one of the best recruiting classes Michigan has ever had. So why not just go win a natty. Let’s go.”