Homecoming might have a different feel for Maryland cornerback Marcus Lewis.
The last year has been a homecoming, in a sense, for the District Heights native.
After playing at Florida State for two years, Lewis decided to return home and transfer to the University of Maryland. He sat out the 2017 season due to the NCAA’s transfer policy, but practiced with the team and participated in Maryland’s Spring Game in April, where he recorded a pick-six.
He has appeared in three game, starting in all three for the 3-2 Terrapins, tallying eight tackles and two pass breakups.
“It feels good, just being closer to my family and things like that,” Lewis told The Left Bench. “So far, I feel like things have been going pretty good this season. We just gotta continue to get better and continue to grind and give it our all each week.”
Lewis’ past relationships with the coaching staff played a pivotal role in bringing the redshirt junior back home. When Lewis, a consensus four-star recruit, starred at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., head coach DJ Durkin was still an assistant coach at Florida. Durkin was one of many coaches from over 30 programs who recruited Lewis, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back.
Defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who Durkin hired in 2015, was a high school football coach at Friendship Collegiate Academy, a public charter school in the district. With just four miles separating Friendship and Gonzaga, Lewis said he and Abdul-Rahim frequently worked out together, and that connection made his transition into Maryland’s secondary even smoother.
“I think our corners are playing really well,” safety Darnell Savage, Jr. said after a September practice. “Not just Marcus, but Marcus, [Tino Ellis], [Rayshad Lewis], [Ravon Davis]. I think those guys are all stepping up and playing a huge role. I think everything is a lot better when you’re playing more than just two corners. With all four of those guys rotating in, I think that definitely takes some of the stress off of them.”
Lewis is one of many local highly-touted recruits now playing for the state school. Over the past few years, the “DMV to UMD” movement has gained momentum, with many recruits openly stating their desire to stay in-state and build the football program at Maryland.
Thirteen of the 22 projected offensive and defensive starters for Maryland’s Homecoming game this Saturday against Rutgers are from the local circuit. Other notable contributors, like running backs Anthony McFarland and Tayon Fleet-Davis, are also from the DMV.
“I think it’s a pretty good thing to do, on and off the field,” Lewis said. “Off the field, you get to make connections with people from your area. There’s a lot of people that graduated from Maryland in this area. On the field, you get to maybe play with some of your teammates that you had in high school.”