Gainesville’s 2012 Class AAAAA state championship put five-star quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Red Elephants in the spotlight. As they set out to defend their state title in 2013, Watson and much of the record-breaking offense returned, but the secondary would lose a lot with graduation. New leaders had to step up and junior safety Lewis Cousins III was up to the task. The 6-foot safety played a huge role in Gainesville’s 12-2 2013 season and run to the state semifinals, while keeping a young defense at the top tier of Class AAAAA.


Cousins moved to Georgia from Florida his freshman year and has continued helping Gainesville improve defensively. This year, the Red Elephants allowed a Region 8-best 17.0 points per game and held six opponents to single digits. Cousins recorded a 123 total tackles while handling pass coverage responsibilities. In Gainesville’s loss to Buford, Cousins had a season-high 16.0 total tackles and he tallied double-digit takedowns five times this season.


“I have a great knack for the ball,” said Cousins.


Cousins is a player that has steadily improved game-to-game and he is always looking for ways to get better. The 175-pound junior is looking to add size so he can compete in Division 1 football after high school. Having a high-profile teammate like Watson at the center stage of the recruiting world this season and seeing how he went through the process is something that has helped Cousins stay focused on achieving his goals.


“Deshaun’s recruiting process definitely opened my eyes,” said Cousins. “He is where everyone wants to be and just seeing how he carried himself the whole time set a great example.”


Cousins has already taken a leadership role for the Red Elephants on and off the field. The fearless safety loves science and chemistry and is an ace in the classroom. Cousins plans to study to be a biochemist in college and just wrapped up a semester with all A’s and one B-plus. The honor student has visited UGA, Georgia Tech, UNC-Charlotte and Western Carolina and plans for a busy offseason.

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