Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga 2015 four-star defensive back Marcus Lewis didn't exactly have much time off during his spring break. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder stayed busy with a weeklong trip to the Sunshine State, making stops at Miami, Florida State, and Florida.
Heading into the week, Ohio State topped Lewis' list, but after three impressive visits the four-star prospect decided to rethink his leaderboard.
"[My mom and I] loved all three schools," said Lewis, who no longer claims a sole leader. "So the three Florida schools will have a big impact in my decision… those three will be in my top five guaranteed."
Lewis' trip of visits kicked off early Tuesday morning with a trip to the University of Miami, where he checked out the entire campus, and still had time to see South Beach.
"At Miami the thing that stood out to me was the tradition. They've had a lot of great players that have come out of there," said Lewis, who picked up an offer from Miami during his visit. "Coach [Al] Golden and [Paul] Williams said I have a lot opportunity to compete for a starting spot, and I could come in as a true freshman, and have an impact."
Lewis added: "[Golden] said I can also get a great education. It's a private school, and it is small, only like 9, 500 kids. He [Golden] said I wouldn't just be another number there, people and professors would actually know my name. So it was really cool."
The second stop of Lewis' southern sweep took him to Tallahassee, to check out Florida State.
"They showed me everything, the whole campus, from the academics to the facilities, and practice, practice it was great," Lewis said. "I got to talk with each coach (Fisher, Kelly, Sunseri) for a while, I mean there wasn't anything that I didn't do. We really saw a lot there--the BCS trophy--it was awesome. "
Lewis sat down for an in-depth conversation with both head coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive coordinator Charles Kelly.
"Coach [Jimbo] Fisher said they are really low on defensive backs because they are only bringing in one in the 2014 class, and they lost a lot of guys last year because of graduation or the Draft, so I could come in and compete for a starting spot when I get there," Lewis said. "He [Fisher] just said we really need you.
"I was just thinking, oh man…it was mind blowing. I wasn't really expecting that," Lewis said. "Coach Fisher said you are going to get coached hard here, we are going to work you hard, but you are going to get rewarded."
Lewis spent much of the Seminoles practice alongside defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, and afterwards, the two discussed how Lewis could fit in on the ‘Noles defense.
"Coach [Charles] Kelly was real straight forward," Lewis said. "They are really about technique and just always working on your craft, and getting better. He [Kelly] said that is why those guys are so good because they are always working at it, and they work hard."
Lewis was impressed by the football facilities, but it was the living facilities at FSU that really blew him away.
"Their apartments are unbelievable," Lewis said. "They have king size Tempurpedic beds, they have flats screens, the rooms are just amazing, and then they have a living room and stuff, it was crazy. It was really nice; I've never seen anything like that before. "
Lewis wrapped up his weeklong trip with a stop at the University of Florida.
"Well Florida was great, me and my mom loved it out here," Lewis said. "I have been really vibing with the team, and I really like the things that coach [Will] Muschamp and T-Rob [Travaris Robinson] were saying."
Lewis, who hopes to major in Communications, was amazed by the quality of the studios and the opportunities available to the students at Florida.
"They took me through the whole broadcast set they have there, I saw where they have ESPN film, and where College Game Day is taped," Lewis said. "I even got my picture up on the set at one of sets, so that was really cool."
The Washington D.C. standout spent a lot of time with former Friendship Collegiate star defensive back Jalen Tabor, who enrolled at Florida in January and is already having an impact on the football field.
"[Tabor] said he thinks I would love it. He said it's a great place to be, academically and football wise. They are going to get you ready to play at the next level, and you get to play in a great conference in the SEC," Lewis said. "He [Tabor] said that you are always going to be prepared, and it doesn't matter if you're freshman, sophomore, junior, or a senior. The coaches don't play favorites, if you are out there making plays or playing hard you're going to play."
Lewis said two things that stood out during his visit was the up-tempo pace at practice, and his sit down talks with head coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson.
"They were saying I can come in there and come in and do some big things for them immediately as a true freshman. They want me to come in mid-year early in January and get a head start with spring practice, get acclimated to the play books, and take some classes," Lewis said. "They see me coming in and making plays as kick returner, punt returner and corner.
"They think I can come in and do some things early because they aren't that deep at the defensive back position," Lewis said. "Plus, I know coach Muschamp can get me ready for the next level because, he has coached in the NFL, and he specifically works with the corners so he spends a lot of time with them."
"Muschamp thinks I'm versatile. He thinks I can play inside corner, outside corner, or both safety spots, it doesn't matter," Lewis said. "I'm just a versatile player, and [Muschamp] said that is what the NFL looks at. They don't want a guy who can just play corner or just play safety they want guys who can be versatile and can play all over the field."
While Lewis was impressed by each of his three visits, he noted that he felt the strongest connection with the players—especially the 2014 enrollees at the University of Florida.
"I really bonded with the guys at Florida," Lewis said. "Guys like Jalen Tabor, Will Grier, Duke Dawson, some of the other players too, they are just all real cool guys. It was just a great experience down there."
Lewis said he plans on taking some time to let his experience sink in, but he plans to narrow his extensive offer his down to just five schools sometime next week.
Lewis Recaps Trio of Visits
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