Shadow Hills senior lineman T.J. Lew said on National Signing Day in February he was nearly certain of where he wanted to play college football, but he wasn’t about to get caught up in the hype of the big day and make a rash decision with possible offers still out there.
Three weeks later, his decision was unchanged, and Tuesday afternoon with his parents and football family, Lew celebrated his commitment and official signing with Western Liberty University in West Virginia.
As it turns out, Lew’s family has been friends with West Liberty head coach Roger Waialae for some time, but the coach reached out in a professional capacity halfway through the Knights’ season, interested in recruiting Lew for the following fall.
Lew excelled on both sides of the line, helping pave the way for nearly 2,000 rushing yards on offense and picking up 53 tackles and forcing a fumble on defense, earning him a spot on the First Team All-DVL as well as a member of the All-Desert Sun team.
READ MORE: Meet the 2016 All-Desert Sun football team
About a month ago, Western Liberty flew Lew out for an official visit, and he was impressed by what he saw both on and off the football field.
“It’s a really small, old campus, but I’m looking to major in science, and they had a brand new building which was really intriguing,” he said. “The coaching staff seemed really nice, up-tempo, get-it-done coaches, and the players were always working when I was around.”
Despite having an offer from closer schools like University of Redlands, Lew said heading close to the east coast is a journey he’s looking forward to and made the excitement of his signing day, though a little delayed, that much bigger.
“I’ve got to experience it someday, and if I don’t like it, I’ll get through my four years and come back, but I’ve been here my whole life,” he said.