Isaiah Buxton, Sean Lewis’ first high school commit

Isaiah Buxton (right) and Anthony McMillian (left) at Viejas Arena. (Paul Garrison/EVT)

Sean Lewis speaks to the Viejas Arena crowd at SDSU Men’s basketball game. (Don De Mars/EVT)

Last Wednesday, the Sean Lewis era officially began with an introductory press conference at Snapdragon Stadium. Since that time, he has had many firsts.

He hired his first staff members. Had his first meetings with players on the current roster. Lewis recruited his first potential Aztecs, lost his first verbal commitment (Devin Love), and gained his first player in the transfer portal (OL Brayden Bryant). On Friday, Lewis hosted his first official visit weekend.

“It’s nice to have breakfast on the beach and be able to show off all the unique things that make San Diego a really special place,” Lewis told EVT at halftime of Saturday night’s men’s basketball game. “The reception’s been great. Getting out in the area with the local high school coaches and the local prospects. The guys who have come, the guys who are showing interest, the guys who want to continue to come, it’s been really exciting.”

Isaiah Buxton at a photo shoot with his family. (Credit: Isaiah Buxton)

On Sunday, Lewis added another first to his list. He received his first commitment from a high school athlete. Mater Dei Catholic High School CB Isaiah Buxton announced his pledge to San Diego State on social media following a meeting with Lewis.

Buxton chose the Aztecs over offers from Penn State, Washington, and Syracuse, among others. The 3-star athlete committed to Arizona in April before decommitting in November. The Wildcats’ loss is the Aztecs’ gain.

“SDSU felt like home,” Buxton told EVT on why he chose the Aztecs. “I feel comfortable and myself here. Plus, it’s my home, and I will have a good support system around. The (45 lb) plate at SDSU weighs the same as every program in the country.”

Without a defensive coordinator on Sean Lewis’ staff, the trip to The Mesa was an opportunity for Buxton to learn about the direction of the Aztecs’ defense. Buxton was told SDSU would continue to play five defensive backs, meaning the team is staying in the 3-3-5 or moving to a 4-2-5.

LB Trey White hosted Buxton on his visit. Both athletes are from Chula Vista. White prepped at Eastlake High School. Mater Dei and Eastlake are about two miles away from each other, making the two schools football rivals. Opponents in high school, White and Buxton, will be competing on the same side of the ball in college.

“Trey White was my host,” Buxton said. “He kept it real about SDSU as much as he could (since) there is a new staff and a change for him as well.”

Sean Lewis on the big screen at Viejas. (Paul Garrison/EVT)

Among the highlights of SDSU’s hospitality for the recruits who visited was an ocean-view breakfast in Pacific Beach. After taking in the scenery, the group went to Snapdragon for a photo shoot. Numerous social media posts showed SDSU arranged fancy automobiles for the athletes to interact with in the south end zone of the stadium.

“Our brand of play, how we’re going to go about it, there’s going to be a lot of hard work, but it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Lewis explained. “Just making it exciting, giving some props out there, making the photo shoot fun, and doing some things that are different.”

According to 247Sports, the 6-foot, 165-pound DB came into the weekend as the second-highest-rated, uncommitted player in San Diego. He leaves as SDSU’s 11th commitment, joining a class headlined by local players.

Joining Buxton on his visit were Carlsbad WR Will Cianfrini and Mater Dei RB Anthony McMillian. Both were already committed to staying home before this weekend.

McMillian and Buxton have played together since they were ten years old. The duo took in the Aztecs’ basketball game on Saturday night. Their network of coaches is extensive in San Diego. Among them is a special connection with coach Thelis Rubin Braswell.

Isaiah Buxton at SDSU’s photo shoot. (Credit: Isaiah Buxton)

“Buxton’s the son of San Diego, by default,” Braswell told EVT. “Military family. He’ll make SDSU proud for years to come. Joining him with the (youth football) Diablos, then Mater Dei, is Anthony McMillian. Now, they are at San Diego State University. Dream come true. Enjoy the ride, San Diego.”

With other opportunities around the country, Buxton said a major factor in his decision was the chance to make an immediate impact.

“Chris Johnson is the only guy coming back that has experience,” Buxton explained. “He played last year. Also, they said (Noah) Tumblin is not coming back as of right now.”

Reached for comment, Tumblin told EVT on Saturday that he remains undecided about his future. Sources indicated he is weighing the difficult decision of entering the NFL draft or returning to the Mesa. Transferring isn’t an option the Hometown Hero is presently considering. Tumblin said expects to decide by December 16.

Buxton intends to enroll early at SDSU, which should give him a greater opportunity to play right away. When Lewis was a prep athlete, he skipped his final semester of high school to begin his college career at Wisconsin.

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Sean Lewis interacts with a young Aztec fan. (Don De Mars/EVT)

“I don’t necessarily encourage it,” Lewis said when asked if he tries to get more young players to come in before the summer. “I educate in that regard.”

“I did it, so I see the pros and cons. We’re more than willing to do it. And, we’re going to do it in a way that if a kid wants to go back for a prom, if he wants to go back for graduation, you only get one opportunity to do that, so we’re going to do that. But, it needs to be a well-thought-out deal so they know exactly what they’re giving up and what they’re going to start. It’s become more commonplace. We’ll have probably five or six mid-year high school enrollees this year, if not more, by the time we get to signing day.”

To this point, most of Lewis’ time in San Diego has been spent driving from his hotel to the facility. The official visit, he said, also allowed him to see a little bit of America’s Finest City for the first time. He’s excited to do more sightseeing after the New Year when his wife and kids join him.

SDSU intends to take as many high school kids as the NCAA allows while sprinkling in transfers, some of which Lewis expects to have in by early signing day on December 20. How many new Aztecs SDSU ends up bringing in, there can only be one first high school commit in the Sean Lewis era. That honor belongs to Isaiah Buxton.

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