Rick Lewis signs his rookie contract with the Georgia Swarm
(Tuesday, Oct. 13) – The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Georgia Swarm today announced that it has signed Cumming, Ga. native Rick Lewis to a one-year contract. Lewis, who recently finished his four-year career at Ohio State University, was the No. 50 overall selection (sixth-round) in the 2015 NLL Draft on Sept. 28.
Lewis is the first-ever Georgia native to be drafted by the Swarm and to sign a rookie contract. The Swarm also selected Lewis’ Buckeye teammate Jesse King with the No. 3 overall selection in the first-round.
“To be drafted into a professional lacrosse league is a huge honor for me,” Lewis said. “The fact that I can do it in my home state with another Buckeye teammate of mine — it’s a great opportunity for me.”
“Rick is an outstanding young man and we’re thrilled to have him on the Swarm,” Swarm Co-Owner and President Andy Arlotta said. “He was a great leader at Ohio State, and is a high-character individual that represents what we look for in a Swarm player.”
Lewis, 23, grew up playing lacrosse in the South Forsyth League after looking up to his father, Rick Lewis Sr., who was a two-time All-American at Rutgers University. In high school, Lewis earned All-American honors and was a two-time Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Lacrosse Player of the Year” at St. Pius X Catholic H.S. in Atlanta. During that time, Lewis also played for a local club team, the Atlanta Shockers, and his talents caught the eyes of Buckeye head coach Nick Myers during a national tournament.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound midfielder signed his letter of intent with the Buckeyes shortly after and began his collegiate career in 2012, appearing in 12 games as a freshman. This past season, Lewis was a team captain and finished his four-year career totaling 11 points (8G, 3A) in 43 games played.
“I loved my four years, I wouldn’t change one second of it,” Lewis said. “I really grew close to my brothers there, Jesse included. We had great chemistry.”
A few weeks ago, Lewis’ lacrosse career was given the opportunity to return home where it all started when his name was called at the NLL Draft in Toronto.
“It means a lot to me. You’re representing more than just yourself, it’s your state,” said Lewis on becoming the first Georgia native to join the Swarm. “I know we’ve been waiting a long time for professional lacrosse to come to Georgia and it’s finally here. To be a part of history and Georgia lacrosse means a lot to me and to represent a lot of people that have been out there working hard for a really long time.”
Since the news, Lewis has received tons of congratulatory messages from friends and family. The local lacrosse community likewise celebrated, as one of its own made it to the pros.
“Everybody has shown a lot of support,” Lewis said. “I’ve had a lot of texts and phone calls, people are excited and just ready to get this thing going.”
Lewis will officially suit up with the Swarm when training camp opens Dec. 4 in Toronto. Swarm coaches will look to utilize Lewis as a transition player, where he will see a majority of floor time on the defensive end, but will have the opportunity to transition up the floor to the offensive end on certain possession changes.
“My biggest things are my size and athleticism,” Lewis said. “I can get the ball up and down. … I really use my athleticism and feet to make plays on the field.”
The story of Lewis’ path to the pros is a testament to the strong lacrosse community the metro Atlanta area has built over the past few decades. With over 100 sanctioned programs at the high school level now, Georgia lacrosse continues to produce more-and-more DI players each year at both the Boys and Girls levels. Lewis is doing his part to keep that trend going, and has returned home since graduating to help provide instruction alongside his father, Rick, at Lambert H.S. and St. Pius. He will also be involved in the Swarm’s youth lacrosse initiatives.
“It’s just exploded,” said Lewis in regards to the growth of the sport locally. “Kids are getting recruited out of everywhere, and they’re going to schools all over the country. People are falling in love with the game and just can’t get enough.”
Single-Game tickets for the inaugural Georgia Swarm season are ON SALE NOW. Lower level tickets starts as low as $22 and special ticket packages are available for the Swarm’s home opener against the Toronto Rock on Saturday, Jan. 9 at The Arena at Infinite Energy Center. To view the Swarm’s home schedule and to purchase tickets, visit georgiaswarm.com/games or call 844-4-GASWARM.
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