Gonzaga (DC) senior Marcus Lewis is the #10 athlete on the 247 Composite, and this week he reaffirmed that Michigan leads Oregon and Miami in his recruitment. Given that news, this seemed like the right week to take a look at the tape of Gonzaga's 31-14 victory over Centreville, a nationally televised battle between the two top-ranked teams in the region, according to the Washington Post.
Lewis, who's being recruited as a cornerback by Michigan, didn't get many opportunities to show his ability in coverage, but he was a major factor in run support before exiting the game in the third quarter due to cramps, an issue that plagued both teams in the second half. In fact, Lewis—who plays both ways for Gonzaga—was originally intended to be the primary receiver on what turned out to be the game-sealing score:
As Reggie Corbin gingerly jogged back onto the field late in Gonzaga’s 31-14 win, he felt the same shooting pain in his legs that had sent Eagles teammate Marcus Lewis to the sideline, resulting in Corbin lining up in the flats instead of at his usual post in the backfield. Drawing back on the intense conditioning he and the Eagles had endured under first-year Coach Randy Trivers, Corbin mustered one more burst of speed, racing to the left before pulling in a pass that he took 48 yards to the end zone.
“All week, we had run that play for Marcus, but he was out with an injury, so the coaches told me to go run,” Corbin said. “At that point I was just numb to the situation and all the pain and focused on winning. I just ran the wheel route, made the catch and pushed down the field.”
Corbin, a three-star running back committed to Illinois, finished with 211 yards of offense and looked outstanding until he, too, succumbed to the heat and humidity.
[Hit THE JUMP for video highlights of Lewis and a quick breakdown of his game.]
Lewis is highlighted before each play; he's wearing #1 for the team in white, lining up at either safety or corner.
Apologies for the audio quality; the game sound disappeared when I converted the video and whatever YouTube did to the song I used was... not ideal. But I'm on a deadline and the video took 40 minutes to upload, so here we are.
Between Centreville's run-centric offense, their avoidance of Lewis (and downfield passing in general), and Lewis' early exit from this game, there's not a lot to go on here in terms of his coverage ability. Whether he was at safety or corner, Lewis mostly played a deep third, and he didn't get targeted with the exception of a couple passes completed underneath him. He could do a better job breaking down and tackling after the catch; he missed one pretty badly on a quick hitch.
On the two occasions when Lewis was in man coverage and had to respect the receiver's route, he looked good playing tight coverage at the line. Gonzaga didn't ask him to press, and it can be difficult for a corner to play close coverage without getting a jam, but Lewis did a very nice job of not buying any moves off the line; he stayed step-for-step with his man on both plays, neither of which ended up going his way.
I was very impressed with his run support. Lewis read plays quickly, took good angles to the football, and either tackled the ballcarrier—keeping yards after contact to a minimum—or smartly funnelling the play back to the pursuing defenders. He wrapped up well, and his size makes it very tough for high school skill players to escape his grasp.
Physically, Lewis very much looked the part. He looked every bit of his listed 6'1", 187 pounds, and he closed on plays with excellent speed. Lewis looks like he'd be a very solid free safety at the next level; he could also be a physical boundary corner, but I just didn't see enough of him in coverage to get a great read on his coverage ability. In a game that featured several top college prospects, Lewis stood out with his size, athleticism, and ability, even in limited action.