Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) four-star cornerback Marcus Lewis caused a bit of a stir when he announced March 24 that he would be leaving his D.C. home for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this summer. The 6-foot-2, 190 pounder, who claims over 20 scholarship offers, said he made the decision after IMG head coach Chris Weinke contacted his family and let them know the benefits of the program.
"I talked it over with my parents and we decided it was the best move for my future," Lewis said. "We already knew a little about IMG, but they really help you get ready for the next level. It will be a great way for me to adapt to the college lifestyle, just living away from home and getting used to the college experience. And they had a quarterback [Mike O'Connor] who is going to Penn State and Alabama just signed a guy [Bo Scarbrough] from there too, so they help you get ready for the next level."
Lewis, though, said the decision was primarily made for academic purposes. While Gonzaga is very good school, Lewis said the one-on-one attention and the fact he'd be able to graduate early at IMG appealed to him and his parents.
"[IMG] is the best opportunity to get me ready for the next level; academically to take care of some things; and they'll let me graduate mid-year in December," said Lewis, who plans to visit the Bradenton school in short order. "I really wanted to graduate early, but first I need to clean up some things with my core GPA. [IMG] does one-on-one tutoring, the teachers are really good, and they give you a lot of attention."
Even so, Lewis said he'll miss playing in the D.C. corridor. He has many friends in and around the area and has developed a close bond with the Gonzaga staff the last three years.
"Coach [Aaron] Brady and the whole staff, they're great guys, it's a great team, and a great group," Lewis said. "I'm going to miss them a lot. They helped me as a person and a student with my development and they were huge for my career. It's not easy to leave this place."
Lewis' move is particularly concerning for Terps fans, who were hoping the Gonzaga corner would stick with his hometown school. The four-star lived just minutes from College Park, Md., and was on campus multiple times for personal trips, junior days and the like.
He was last at Maryland for the Terps' hoops game against Virginia and came away raving after meeting with head coach Randy Edsall, his recruiter Mike Locksley and defensive backs coach Brian Stewart.
"This move doesn't affect my position with Maryland. I'm still considering them," Lewis said. "I just talked to Coach Locks, actually, I hit him up [March 25], and we're still going to stay in touch. I'm looking forward to continuing talking to him and building that relationship."
Lewis went on to say that he planned to be back at Maryland before he leaves for IMG this summer. In addition, he'll return home periodically during the school year in order to visit and see his family.
"Maryland is still a school I'm thinking about," Lewis said. "It's the hometown school, I like all the coaches over there and I'm comfortable there. But we'll see."
The Gonzaga corner just recently trekked through Florida and visited UF, Florida State and Miami. All three are under heavy consideration, along with Ohio State, which he named his leader before backing off.
"Florida, Florida State and Miami will be in my top five, and Ohio State probably will too. Just the atmosphere, tradition and coaching staffs at those schools, that draws me to them and they're coming at me the hardest," Lewis said. "With Florida, Jalen Tabor is there and they have the Joe Haden connection, so I like that about them."
So, will UMD grab the final spot in Lewis' top five when he releases it next week?
"I'm not sure about Maryland yet," he said. "We'll see how everything goes; it's up in the air right now."
Lewis Will Maintain Relationship with Terps
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