When the last dead period for recruiting ended in mid-January, Marcel Lewis had no Big Ten scholarship offers. Now the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Clinton Township Chippewa Valley junior linebacker is one of the hottest 2019 recruits in the Midwest, earning offers at a blistering pace, including ones from Michigan and Michigan State.
“It’s a little overwhelming with new early signing period,” Chippewa Valley head coach Scott Merchant said. “It has sped up the entire process. We were just talking about how overwhelming the last two weeks have been. Marcel’s gotten 12 scholarship offers in the last two weeks. One day, we had seven colleges come in in the same day.”
Merchant, also a counselor at the school, has stayed late a lot, but for the benefit of Lewis and several other players being recruited at the school. He says it is no issue as he is happy to help this group of players, who are both talented on the field and great kids off of it.
For Lewis, handling the process has not been an issue. He is still emotional with every scholarship opportunity, although he did admit that seeing Don Brown in his school and then later receiving an offer from Michigan was a special moment.
“Oh, I grew up a Michigan fan,” Lewis told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich. “Me and my whole family did. I am very interested in Michigan. I know coming down to making my decision, they would be one of my top schools. I just love the culture of Michigan. Michigan is one of the greatest in college football and I just love everything about the university.”
Kentucky, Purdue, Iowa State, Indiana and Minnesota are among Lewis’ other offers. As a junior, he recorded 88 tackles (11 for loss) and three sacks for a Chippewa Valley team that made it deep into the playoffs before a loss to Detroit Cass Tech in one of the most competitive games of the state tournament. That game served notice to those around the state who did not know Lewis yet that he belonged on the same field with Cass and its usual crop of college recruits.
“Cass, right or wrong, is always the bar in terms of D1 recruits,” Merchant said. “He obviously knew some of the kids on their team, as well. He played little league with some of them so it was a little more personal for him. Then 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.”
That was the same athleticism Merchant and his staff had seen from Lewis’ sophomore year in 7-on-7. As a freshman, Lewis registered for school late and did not play football, plus he was in a separate building from the high school. Once he began working out with the team, it quickly became evident he was going to be able to help the varsity.
“We saw he was a really good athlete,” Merchant said. “We were playing him at linebacker, but also playing him at outside receiver because he moved so well and had good ball skills. Once we got the pads on, it became evident really quickly that he would be a great linebacker because of how physical he was.”
Some schools see Lewis as an inside linebacker, others as an outside linebacker. Merchant believes Lewis has the growth potential to get to 6-foot-2 and into the 230-pound range in college, with the speed and physicality to make an impact wherever he lines up.
In addition to that, Lewis’ love for the game, his diligence in reading plays and studying film, and his overall attitude was contagious for his team.
“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.”
That was the way Lewis was as a sophomore looking to earn a role with the varsity and it has not changed, even with major programs coming in daily to recruit him.
“Right now, I think he just wants to get his bearings, get through next week and see where he stands with schools and probably sit down with his mom and talk about the schools he really likes,” Merchant said. “They need to get up to some visits unofficially or officially in the spring. I think his head’s spinning a bit, and his mom’s too. He got 12 offers in roughly 14 days. That’s overwhelming for a 16-year-old kid.”
Wolverines offer Ohio sophomore
Michigan extended an offer to Akron (Ohio) Hoban sophomore linebacker DaeMOnte Trayanum on Tuesday.
The 6-0, 205-pound Trayanum is one of the Midwest’s fastest rising young recruits as Ohio State, Notre Dame, and now the Wolverines have all offered in the span of a week.
The Wolverines already hold a commitment from his teammate, junior offensive lineman Nolan Rumler.
IMG Academy lineman offered
Michigan also offered Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive tackle Charles Turner on Tuesday.
The 6-5, 270-pound Turner is a native of Canton (Ohio) and attended McKinley High School before transferring to IMG.
He holds offers from Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Missouri, Minnesota, Rutgers and more.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. 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.