The Maryland staff is after a few Garden State quarterbacks, and dual-threat Johnathan Lewis (St. Peter’s Prep/Jersey City, N.J.) might be next to join the fray. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder visited College Park, Md., for the first time March 29 and is firmly on the Terps’ radar.
“I was talking to the coaches at Maryland, and they were honest with me,” said Lewis, who holds offers from BC, Iowa, Rutgers, Temple, Wake Forest and Georgia. “They want to see me throw before offering. So Coach [Walt] Bell is going to be scheduling something with my coaches at Prep so he can come up and watch me. If I throw well, then I should get the offer, and that would mean a lot. Maryland is a school I’m definitely interested in. I think it’s a great place; I like the facilities and the football team.”
Lewis, who mentioned it wouldn’t hurt UMD’s chances with him even if the offer’s presented later than others, said the Terps have his eye after he and his father watched a team practice. The Jersey City native loved seeing the offensive coordinator Bell and head coach D.J. Durkin in action.
“Coach Durkin, he’s really energetic and gets into it. He runs a fast-paced practice, which I liked,” Lewis said. “Afterwards he was asking me questions and just seemed like a cool guy. And Coach Bell, I talked to him before practice and he’s a fiery, energetic guy too. I really liked how outspoken he is during practice and how he’s hands-on with the quarterbacks. I like his style, and how his offense is an up-tempo spread. It’s exactly what we do at Prep.”
In addition to Bell and Durkin, Lewis spent the majority of the workout chatting with Marcus Berry. Lewis and his father both easily connected with UMD’s Director of Recruiting.
“Coach Marcus, he’s not going to feed you lies like some coaches at some other schools might. Like, you get told all the time, ‘Oh, you can come here and play right away,’ but Coach Marcus isn’t going to say something like that,” Lewis said. “He’s going to give it to you straight, and he said the Maryland coaches are going to give you constructive criticism. He said you can either take it and use it, or leave it. So I really liked that and I appreciated how honest he was.”
Lewis also had a chance to tour the campus and see a video of the $150 million facility upgrades. He called New Cole, the tunnel and the various renovations “really great.”
“I saw how Maryland is going to look in a few years, and it’s going to be awesome,” Lewis said. “No doubt about that.”
Following his initial College Park foray, Lewis said he’d likely return if/when the offer is presented. There’s also a possibility he’ll attend a UMD one-day camp so he can show off his arm a second time around.
“Like I said, Maryland’s a school I definitely am looking at,” said Lewis, who mentioned his father ‘really liked’ UMD too. “One thing is when I got back home, my mom was like, ‘That’s a great school down there.’ And a key thing for me is, I want my mom to see me play and don’t want to go to school too far from home. I don’t want my mom to be able to see like one game a year; I want her to see most of my games. So the fact she likes the school and that it’s only a couple hours away, that’s big for Maryland.”
It’s big for Rutgers too. Lewis has visited the hometown school a few times already and will be returning for a practice April 2. He said the Scarlet Knights, along with Temple, have “definitely caught my eye.” Additionally, Lewis liked what he saw at Syracuse (no offer yet) during a recent visit, while he called Penn State, whose coaches have been in touch, a “favorite growing up.” Boston College is also in play and could be in line for a visit.
As far as a decision date is concerned, Lewis is targeting late spring or early summer.