This is a very big day for me and my entire family.
I have always wanted to play college football for the University of Southern California. It’s been one of those schools that I have always had a personal connection to. My love for USC started with my grandpa Benjamin (Ben) Butler back when I was little.
My grandpa (#32) was a 6’4 tackle that played for St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix that won Arizona state championships in 1948 and 1950. He received a scholarship from USC and was committed. In his final high school game, the ‘50 championship, he tore his shoulder tendon. Back then, if you had an injury like that you were done. Because of that injury, he never fulfilled that scholarship and his dream, but he always loved USC. I grew up watching USC football games with him until he passed away.
Starting off on my journey, I never thought that I would be at this point in my life today…from transferring high schools to be the first specialist in the 2020 class to have received Division I Power 5 offer(s). It’s crazy to understand where hard work and determination will take you.
The path to my college decision began at the end of my 7th grade year. I had just quit soccer and my dad thought it would be a great idea to kick field goals. This is also when I met my kicking coach Sam Watts. I met him through my future high school special teams coach, who recommended that I train with him to prepare myself for freshman football.
That year, I started playing for my first Pop Warner team called the Sharks in 8th grade. I loved it!
Heading into my sophomore year, my family and I decided Saguaro High School was the perfect fit. It’s an amazing school with an awesome coaching staff and great academics.
As I worked harder-and-harder on and off the field, I started attending several kicking camps around the nation as I dreamed of playing football at the next level.
Quite honestly, my #1 choice was always USC because of my grandpa. However, I was also interested in Stanford. I went to both the Stanford and USC camps and won the field goal competition at each.
With me being so interested in USC it was surreal to see SC’s campus and facilities. My excitement went even higher when I met the Trojan coaches and learned about the school’s academics.
This past April, I wanted to go to USC’s spring game to take an unofficial visit. I went with a few of my Saguaro teammates — 2020 CB Kelee Ringo and 2020 OLB Damian Sellers. We had a great time. It was really cool being able to talk with Coach Helton and Coach Baxter. I also met a few future Trojan players — JT Daniels, Isaac Taylor Stuart and Bryce Young — when I was at the spring game.
Then, over the summer, I attended five kicking camps — UCLA, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Stanford, and USC. I visited all of them with my dad. I went to the camps based on their interest in me and my interest in them. I showed well at every camp.
However, when it came to USC nothing changed.
Out of all the camps that I went to, the one thing that really stood out to me and showed me what type of program USC is, was how Coach Helton greeted everyone and spoke at the beginning of
the camp. It impressed me a lot. It really was eye opening to see how much he cared about his program. It was the first time I had seen a head coach at any of the Specialist Camps.
It also was very impactful to see how in-line Coach Baxter was with the special teams. He had everything down to perfection. I meshed very well with his techniques that he displayed during the camp.
When Coach Helton offered me a full scholarship to USC that day, I knew immediately that I was going to commit.
So with the memories of my grandpa’s unfulfilled dream in my heart, I am proud to say that I will be committing to the University of Southern California!
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Editor’s Note: Parker Lewis is a Class of 2020 Kicker/Punter at Saguaro High School in Arizona. Kohl’s Kicking Camps has him listed as a 5-star K/P.
Follow Parker on Twitter @ParkerLewi