Notre Dame football's Butler gives CB Lewis recruiting pitch

South Bend Tribune

After receiving an offer from Notre Dame, Marcus Lewis knew at least one person he was going hear from: former high school teammate and current Irish cornerback Devin Butler.

The two communicate regularly, but the Irish offer in February added another topic of conversation. Butler, a sophomore-to-be sidelined this spring as he recovers from shoulder surgery, took his turn to give his friend a recruiting pitch.

“He said first off I'm going to get a great education and a good degree,” Lewis said. “I'd get a chance to play in front of a big crowd in a huge stadium. It's a brotherhood there and I would love it. He said at least visit.”

Lewis plans to do so sometime in April before Notre Dame’s spring football ends. This past weekend, the Washington, D.C. native traveled to the Sunshine State to visit Miami, Florida and Florida State.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect has accumulated an offer list of more than 20 following his junior season at Gonzaga High. Despite his connection to Notre Dame, the offer from the Irish caught Lewis off guard.

"It was definitely a blessing,” Lewis said. “It was surprising. I wasn't even expecting it.”

The attention from programs like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and others shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as some recruiting analysts rank Lewis as a four-star prospect and one of the top cornerbacks in the country.

Rivals ranks him as the No. 8 cornerback and No. 76 player overall in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him as the No. 16 athlete and No 149 overall. Lewis blends a combination of size and athleticism that’s required for elite corners.

“I'm physical. I can tackle,” Lewis said. “I’m very good at press man (coverage). I have good feet, good hips and I'm a big corner.”

As a junior, Lewis racked up 46 tackles, seven pass break-ups and two interceptions. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and spent some time playing wide receiver as well.

Lewis credits his improvement from taking his craft more seriously.

"I've just become more of a student of the game, watching more film and knowing that it's not all about the field,” Lewis said. “You actually have to study your opponent. I've been getting in the film room with some guys who played in the league, guys who've done it.”

His work has opened doors to a number of elite college football programs. In addition to his trip to Florida, Lewis visited Kentucky and Ohio State earlier this year. He also has invites to summer camps at Oregon and Alabama.

Last week, he named Florida, Miami, Ohio State, Michigan State, Kentucky and Clemson as schools standing out at the moment.

“I'm looking for somewhere that I can just step on the field and start immediately,” Lewis said. “As far as my parents, how comfortable we are with the coaching staff, how comfortable I am with the team and if it feels like a family atmosphere. And education is important too.”

Tight ends coach Scott Booker has led the recruitment of Lewis for the Irish. Lewis said he and his parents have started to build a good relationship with Booker. Paired with his relationship with Butler, and the fact that he saw significant playing time as a freshman, the Irish have found a good starting point.

"He worked hard,” Lewis said of Butler. “He told me he was going to come out there and compete for a spot. He worked hard and got it done. I wasn't too surprised but I was happy for him. I was proud of him.”

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Tight ends coach Scott Booker has led the recruitment of coveted cornerback Marcus Lewis. SBT photo GREG SWIERCZ