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Lewis, Johnson still commited following coaching change

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D.H. Conley's CJ Johnson runs the ball during their game against Eastern Wayne on Sept. 28, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflctor

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pitt County East Carolina football recruits Jeremy Lewis of South Central and CJ Johnson of D.H. Conley doubled down on their commitments following the arrival of new head coach Mike Houston this week.

Attempts to reach Farmville Central’s Keziah Everett for comment were unsuccessful.

Houston, formerly the coach of FCS powerhouse James Madison, was officially announced as the successor to former head coach Scottie Montgomery on Tuesday, leaving commits to decide if they would stick with their original decisions as the early signing period approaches on Dec. 20 and runs through Dec. 22. 

Lewis, a 6-foot-4, 228-pound defensive end, reaffirmed his commitment to the Pirates Friday afternoon. He is rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN. 

“I was surprised (about the coaching change),” Lewis said. “Really, coach Mo recruited all of us, but maybe it’s for the better. I can’t really put my input on that, and I haven’t had the opportunity to meet or talk to coach Houston yet.”

Despite the change, Lewis remains optimistic about his future with the program under the new coaching staff. 

“I’m excited about the new staff,” Lewis said. “I know they've been with a winning program for a few years now, so maybe we can get them on the ship and we can start winning for ECU.”

Lewis announced his verbal commitment June 26, prior to he and the Falcons completing an 11-0 regular season and in the process capturing a 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference title over rival D.H. Conley. The Falcons lost in the second round of the 4-A state playoffs, 33-32 to South View. 

Lewis had received scholarship offers from Charlotte, Duke, Tennessee, Georgia State, Wake Forest and Virginia. 

Johnson also confirmed he is still on board with signing for the Pirates. The 6-2, 215-pound three-star wide receiver also confirmed his standing following the new hire.

“I didn't really have any reaction (following the change),” Johnson said. “I appreciate coach Mo, coach (Keith) Gaither, coach (Tony) Petersen, that whole coaching staff. I appreciate them looking at me and giving me an offer. But how I see it, if you commit to a school for a coach, you’re not going for the right reason.”

Johnson was the first of the trio ahead of Lewis and Everett to announce his commitment, selecting the Pirates over North Carolina and Virginia Tech on May 7.

The Vikings finished 9-4, losing in the second round of the 3-AA state playoffs to Cleveland, 40-35.

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