CHEYENNE – Tanner Gentry and Xavier Lewis used to be rivals, but now they are preparing to be teammates.
Both attended high school in Aurora, Colo. Gentry went to Grandview High, Lewis to Eaglecrest High.
“Our schools were down the street from one another. It was about as big as a rivalry can get,” Lewis said. “I didn’t like anything about Grandview or about (Gentry).”
Gentry (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) was a receiver and Lewis (6-0, 190) a safety, and there were a lot of times they competed against each other on the field. They still play the same positions, but now they are working together and preparing for their true freshman seasons at the University of Wyoming.
They have been working out together since they decided to sign with UW in February. What started out with throwing the football around near a local recreation center turned into more intense workouts at Elite Speed Sports Performance in the Denver area over the last month.
“We train there twice a week on football skills, speed work, weights. We do it all,” Gentry said. “We usually come in there three extra times and do our own work.
“We both have the same goal. We both want to have great careers at Wyoming, and both of our dreams are to play in the NFL. We push each other as hard as we can.”
Gentry and Lewis were two of the top high school prospects to come out of Colorado this year. Both made The Denver Post’s All-Colorado team for all classifications. Recruiting website 247Sports.com ranked Lewis as the 20th-best recruit in Colorado, while Gentry was 23rd.
Lewis also earned The Denver Post’s Gold Helmet Award in 2012 as Colorado’s top senior football player, scholar and citizen.
Gentry verbally committed to UW last June. Once he did and he knew the Cowboys were recruiting Lewis, Gentry thought it would be a good idea for them to be teammates.
That’s when the selling job started.
“Him being a rival, I wasn’t too sure about listening at first,” Lewis said with a laugh. “But then I knew it would be a good opportunity, and we became friends in the process.”
Both begin their UW careers June 16 when they, and other incoming players, report for summer school and voluntary workouts. They plan to be roommates.
Lewis said Gentry’s Grandview team got the best of his Eaglecrest squad in the team rivalry, adding, “They beat us in a couple of close games.”
As for the individual rivalry, Gentry said: “I think I got the best of him a little bit. He has hit me hard a few times, but I scored a touchdown on him.”
Added Lewis: “We both had great plays against each other.”
Until they get to UW, they plan to continue their workouts, which still ignite their old rivalry.
“He is trying to beat me, and I am trying to beat him,” Lewis said. “We both embrace the competiveness. We know that is going to make us better in the end. We are friendly off the field, but when we get on the field, we are trying to beat each other at every opportunity.”