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In-state LB Marcel Lewis talks Spartans offer
It didn’t take long for Marcel Lewis to realize what was coming.
The Chippewa Valley (Clinton Township, Mich.) linebacker traveled to Michigan State like he had a handful of times and attended a men’s basketball game with a large group of recruits. But he was one of the select few that Spartans coach Mark Dantonio wanted to come to his office.
After a few minutes spent chatting, Lewis got the news he had been waiting for. Dantonio wanted to make the 3-star linebacker, per the 247Sports composite, the next in a talented 2019 class of in-state prospects to land an offer from the Spartans.
— MARCEL LEWIS™ (@marcel1lewis) January 13, 2018
“It meant a lot,” Lewis said, “and coming from Coach Dantonio, there couldn’t be a greater way to offer someone.”
Lewis immediately began to feel the friendly poking and prodding of his friends who are already committed to Michigan State’s 2019 class. Four-star Belleville (Mich.) cornerback Julian Barnett vowed to make Lewis a part of “the family.” Four-star Oak Park (Mich.) quarterback Dwan Mathis informed his social media following, “We need him.”
Michigan State has offered 13 in-state juniors so far in this class. Three have committed: Barnett, Mathis and 4-star Walled Lake Western tackle Spencer Brown. Nine of the other 10 remain uncommitted, and at least six of them visited on Saturday. Lewis has become a top target among them.
— Julian Barnett (@_OfficialJB1) January 13, 2018
“It’s kind of funny because me and Julian have been friends for a couple of years now,” Lewis explained. “He played on my little league team, and we have been following each other and talk all the time. And with Spencer, I met him last year, and he’s been talking about MSU since Day 1 with me. You know they are trying to pull me in with them. Both are trying to get me, and also Dwan.”
But it’s not nepotism or cronyism. You’d better believe Lewis has the credentials. He was one of two juniors on the Detroit Free Press prep football Dream Team, alongside 5-star Belleville tackle Devontae Dobbs. Lewis recorded 88 tackles (11 for loss), 3 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on last season, per the Free Press.
At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, Lewis projects to play any of several linebacker spots. He got some insight into where Michigan State sees him when the Spartans became his fourth offer alongside Iowa State, Central Michigan and Kent State.
“I have a great relationship with the whole staff, and [linebackers coach Mike] Tressel told me he wants me to play there and said how well I fit in with the defense,” Lewis said. “The staff sees me as the star linebacker right now or the money ‘backer. Those are the two.”
Clearly the visits, the recruiting by his friends and Tressel’s words have resonated. The vision of Lewis at Michigan State becomes clearer to him by the day.
“I could see myself at MSU, for sure,” he said.
Offers flow in East Lansing
Lewis certainly wasn’t the only one to land an offer from Michigan State on Saturday. Three others shared that they had received the same honor. Zeke Correll was the first.
— Zeke Correll (@zekecorrell) January 13, 2018
Correll, a 4-star Anderson (Cincinnati) junior guard, could not have been too surprised. He added the Spartans to a list that includes Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The 6-4, 270-pound standout ranks eighth nationally among guards.
Michigan State recently lost co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett, an expert in recruiting Cincinnati, to Florida State. But the Spartans still have Dantonio, who coached at Cincinnati and knows the landscape.
Another 2019 in-state star also landed an offer. Paw Paw offensive lineman Karsen Barnhart shared the news as the Spartans made a less common foray into western Michigan.
— Karsen Barnhart (@k_ballin__) January 13, 2018
Barnett has not yet garnered a 247Sports composite rating, but he does have an impressive list of offers that includes Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa State and a host of MAC schools. He stands at 6-4 and weighs 282 pounds.
Then the Spartans offered not only one of the Midwest’s best juniors, but one of the top 2019 prospects in the nation in 4-star Avon (Ind.) running back Sampson James. He’s ranks the No. 17 running back in the class.
— Sampson (@Sjames_2) January 13, 2018
Soon enough James might mess around and get offered by the entire Big Ten. He added Michigan State to a list that includes Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue.
The weekend showed why the early signing period is such a benefit for programs such as Michigan State. Since the Spartans wrapped up about 90 percent of their 2018 class by Dec. 20, they’ve had the freedom to seek out top young talent at a point where they might typically focus more attention on seniors.
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