QB Caleb Lewis to join LSU football team as a preferred walk-on _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU head coach Les Miles and LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings (10) talk during a timeout, during the first half Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 in College Station, Texas.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LSU will add a quarterback in 2015 after all.

Caleb Lewis, a Lakeland, Florida, native, will enroll early in January as a preferred walk-on.

Lewis, the Class 2A player of the year in Florida, is a pro-style quarterback who completed 353 of 632 passes for 5,647 yards with 60 touchdowns and just 21 interceptions in leading Victory Christian to the Class 2A state championship this year.

Lewis had scholarship offers from Albany State, Buffalo, Florida International, Princeton and Ohio.

N.C. State, South Florida and Central Florida pursued Lewis but ultimately didn’t offer him a scholarship, his father and high school coach, Tommy Lewis, said.

LSU has six quarterbacks on its roster, but only two of them are on scholarship: sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris. The Tigers have one quarterback committed in the 2015 class, Justin McMillan, who is set to enroll early in January along with, at least, cornerback Kevin Toliver II and tight end Hanner Shipley.

Quarterback has been a point of contention this year. Jennings and Harris struggled this season, and it was thought that LSU might bring in another quarterback in 2015 — possibly a junior-college player.

The Tigers flirted with former Clemson and then-East Mississippi Community College quarterback Chad Kelly, who eventually signed with Ole Miss and was arrested last week.

LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told Lewis that he’ll have a shot to compete.

“He made it clear that everyone gets a chance to compete,” Lewis said. “After that, it’s up to me to prove myself that I deserve a scholarship and then be ready if the opportunity comes along to play.”

“He’s excited about whatever he can do to help the program,” Tommy Lewis said. “I think the attitude is to get to school, get enrolled, get a hold of the playbook and start learning and growing. He’s a competitor to begin with so he’s going to compete.”

Lewis went to two camps at LSU over the summer, but the Tigers chose to offer a scholarship to McMillan instead of Lewis. Both competed at the camps.

Tommy Lewis called LSU Caleb’s “dream school.”

“I’ve been a fan since I was 7, since that national championship in 2003,” Caleb Lewis said Friday. “I’ve achieved my dream of being an LSU Tiger.”

Many of the schools that offered Lewis had found a quarterback before his senior season began. His search for a scholarship spot ended the day before Christmas when N.C. State decided not to extend an offer, his father said. LSU offered Lewis a spot as a preferred walk-on in November, and Lewis called Cameron on Christmas Day to officially commit to the program.

Lewis was raised in Hilton Head, South Carolina, before the family moved to Lakeland two years ago. Lewis, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, has quarterbacked four straight teams to state championship games.

He started for his father at Hilton Head Christian Academy in South Carolina as a freshman and sophomore. Victory Christian lost in the state title game last year before winning it all this season.

Draft grades are in

LSU underclassmen have received their draft grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee, coach Les Miles said Friday night on his radio show, but he declined to reveal details.

The maximum of five LSU underclassmen requested grades from the committee, which gives three grades: first round, second round or remain in school.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive back Jalen Collins are seen as leans to bypass their final year of eligibility. Defensive end Danielle Hunter, offensive linemen Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins and receiver Travin Dural are all draft eligible.

After revealing that draft grades were received, Miles said, “There’s a great number of our juniors that, by coming back, will be drafted higher.”

Miles on Valentine, Garrett

Miles suggested Friday night on his radio show that defensive tackle Travonte Valentine remains ineligible for play via the Southeastern Conference.

The coach said No. 22 LSU (8-4) doesn’t “anticipate” playing Valentine in the Music City Bowl against Notre Dame (7-5) on Tuesday. The team arrives in Nashville on Saturday afternoon.

“He has some things to get in place so we can get him on the field,” Miles said on Valentine.

Linebacker Clifton Garrett has “the potential” to play in the game, the coach said. Garrett has played in two games this season and is eligible for a medical redshirt if he were to have been injured during the first half of the season, according to NCAA rules.

Valentine, a highly rated 2014 signee from Florida, was never cleared to play by the SEC but is expected to gain eligibility for next season. He’s been practicing with the team all fall.

Follow Ross Dellenger on

Twitter @DellengerAdv.