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Trieu: MSU lands 3-star LB Marcel Lewis: ‘It’s home for me’

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
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When Michigan State offered Clinton Township Chippewa Valley linebacker Marcel Lewis in January, the Spartans were his first Big Ten offer, and he immediately made it known it was an offer he had long waited for.

The Spartans kicked off what turned out to be a winter full of major scholarships for Lewis. He took it in, admitting along the way that it was hectic, visited as many programs as he could, and when he came out on the other side of it, Michigan State still stood as the school he wanted to be at.

Lewis committed to the Spartans on Wednesday, giving them their sixth verbal commitment of the 2019 class, and fourth from inside the state.

“It is home for me and always has been,” Lewis said. “I know the whole coaching staff and I’m also really close with the linebacker coach, Coach (Mike) Tressel. They treat me like family and care about me outside of football.”

As a junior, Lewis recorded 88 tackles (11 for loss) and three sacks for the Chippewa Valley. He also made appearances on offense when they needed him. One of those games was in the playoffs against Cass Tech, which was something of a coming-out party for Lewis.

“Cass, right or wrong, is always the bar in terms of D1 recruits,” Chippewa Valley head coach Scott Merchant said. “To have that good of a showing against a quality opponent — and he played offense, too; that was something we put in for that game. He caught two touchdown passes and runs right past the Cass defense; that showed people his speed and athleticism. They had already seen the physicality from the film on defense.”

The Spartans have options as to where to line Lewis up. He could play their STAR position or other linebacker positions.

According to his coach, MSU is getting a lot of talent, but also a lot of character.

“As good of a football player as he is — and I know people throw this out there — he’s as good of a kid off of it,” Merchant said. “He is one of the most humble young men I’ve coached in my career. He never expects anything, never tells anyone how great he is. He’s just a soft-spoken, unassuming guy. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have confidence in himself; he just won’t beat his chest.”

His personality fit well with the feeling he got at Michigan State, and Lewis said head coach Mark Dantonio was at the forefront of that.

“When I talk to Coach Dantonio, he has never brought up anything about me going anywhere, he talks about school and how is my family doing and also myself,” Lewis said. “Coach D is the greatest coach I’ve ever met. He is a great man, and a great mentor to me.”

Lewis is ranked by the industry-generated 247Sports Composite as the No. 18 junior recruit in the state of Michigan.

He held additional scholarship offers from Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa State, and more.


Michigan State offered Belleville class of 2021 defensive and offensive lineman Damon Payne on Tuesday.

Payne (6-4, 255 pounds) already is established as one of the top freshmen in the Midwest and a national recruit.

A two-way starter for the Tigers last fall, Payne holds additional offers from Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, and more.

The Spartans signed a Belleville product in the 2018 class, cornerback Davion Williams, and have a verbal commitment from another Tiger, defensive back Julian Barnett, in the 2019 class.


Michigan State defensive line coach Ron Burton was at Momence (Ill.) High School on Tuesday. That is the home of four-star defensive end Jason Bargy, one of the Midwest’s top recruits and a Top 100 national recruit per 247Sports.

The Spartans have offered Bargy a scholarship and are battling Minnesota, Illinois and others for the 6-foot-4, 231-pound junior.

Bargy last visited Michigan State in February for a basketball game.


Marcel Lewis profile

Damon Payne profile

Jason Bargy profile

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.

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