Robert Lewis still mulling his options

South East's Robert Lewis says he will announce his college choice on Friday night. Courtesy of Jackie Satti

LOS ANGELES -- It appeared as if Robert Lewis had, at long last, made up his mind about his final destination for college when the senior from South Gate South East gave a verbal commitment to Washington State a couple of weeks ago. Questions about the pledge, however, remain.

Lewis plans to put a stop to all of the second-guessing and make things official on Friday night when a ceremony will be held on his high school campus and the 5-foot-10, 160-pound running back will decide between his final three schools, Oregon, Southern Methodist and Washington State.

“I'm going to make my announcement this weekend at my school and pick the hat of my college choice in front of all my family and friends,'' Lewis said. “I'm still exploring all my options, but the recruiting process is almost over for me. Anything can happen in the next two days.''

There was some who thought San Diego State had recently emerged as a player. When Lewis decided to cancel a visit earlier this month, the talk about the Aztecs subsided.

Utah made a last ditch effort to lure him Salt Lake City. The same thing can be said about Texas Tech and the Red Raiders' desire to wow him with everything Lubbock had to offer.

“We've talked plenty about recruiting in the past, and I know Robert likes Washington State, but I don't think it's a lock that he'll commit to the Cougars,'' South East coach Derwin Henderson said. “He also likes SMU, that program has been high on his list since the beginning. We're all in the dark about his decision. I can tell you this, we'll find out on Friday night when he decides.''

The Mustangs and coach June Junes initially received a verbal commitment from Lewis in February. At the time, all signs pointed to the program, essentially, being the frontrunner.

Lewis had already made a big name for himself on the national level with several standout efforts at various 7-on-7 passing tournaments with B2G Sports. With momentum in place, he rushed for 2,023 yards and 36 total touchdowns in his senior season for South East and led the Jaguars to the CIF City Section Division II title.

When Mike Leach recently took over as coach at Washington State, Lewis' desire to attend SMU wavered a bit. A subsequent recruiting trip to Pullman, on Jan. 13, followed.

“I liked what Washington State has to offer,'' Lewis said. “The system Coach Leach runs is a good fit for me. They want to put me into the slot and throw me the ball. That's what I'm looking for, a place where I can go, get a chance to play right away, and make a major impact.

“I'm still talking with the coaches over at SMU though. They have told me to take my time and don't worry too much about college decision. I like the fact that they have not put a lot of pressure on me. They have been around since Day 1, you have to respect that. I do too.

“If I had to pick between a third school, Oregon is right up there. The things that school has done are great. Utah has a chance, I guess. Texas Tech started recruiting me too late.''

His ultimate destination is anyone's guess, although Washington State seems to be the best bet. One thing is certain: Lewis will make his final choice on Friday night.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.