Tarboro Vikings five star defensive end and Ohio State commit Tyquan Lewis was presented with the WRAL Extra Effort Award Wednesday. The presentation was a surprise to Lewis, because the coaching staff and his mother, Tyronda Whitaker, knew about the award but didn't let Lewis in on the news until he was called to Vikings head coach Jeff Craddock's office and was introduced to Tom Suiter, WRAL sports anchor. The show will air Thursday at 6 p.m.
"It means a lot to me to receive this award," Lewis said. "It shows how much things are paying off for me and how people acknowledge me for my hard work as a football player and a student."
The news put a big smile on Lewis' face when he was told about being the recipient of the award. Suiter had Lewis filmed in several segments and finally presented Lewis with the award on the Vikings football practice field in front of the entire team.
"I didn't know what to expect when I walked in coach's office and saw him (Suiter) here," Lewis said. "It hit me when I thought about him passing out the extra effort award."
Lewis was presented the award for all of his hard work on and off the field. Lewis has a 3.8 GPA in the classroom and will graduate after the first semester.
Lewis has set the bar high for himself once he arrives at Ohio State. He will enroll in the university during the second semester, because he will be done with high school in December. He wants to graduate from college in a little over three years.
"I want to get my degree and just be successful in life," Lewis said. "If God gives me the opportunity to go to the next level then I will continue to strive for greatness."
Lewis made his big college announcement in September, that he had chose Ohio State and said that is where he will carry his talents to play college football.
Lewis had over 20 Division I schools recruiting him when he made his announcement. He had narrowed his list down to five but pegged the Buckeyes.
Lewis' main deciding factor on choosing Ohio State was just feeling comfortable at the university when he went to visit both times. He knew he wasn't going to be close to home where his mother and three brothers are, but he knew they weren't going to be that far away.
"I think he picked the best school that fit him best," Craddock said. "That is what I am most happy about. It is going to be very exciting to see him play next year in a Buckeye uniform – it is going to be awesome."
Craddock and his coaching staff have been very pleased to have Lewis on their sideline for the past four years. He has been a big impact player for the Vikings and a big part of their success during his career there.
"Tyquan is an amazing football player on both sides of the ball," Craddock said. "He works just as hard as any other player that I have coached. He is going to be great in college."
Lewis and his Viking teammates are heading into the third round of the state playoffs and will entertain Northeastern Friday night. Lewis is looking for his fourth state title as a Viking, but to get there they will have to win three more playoff games.
Lewis is the third Viking to receive the award in past several years. Last year, Todd Gurley and a couple of years before that Jeremy Bellamy was honored.