Before transferring to Maryland football last spring, Rayshad Lewis recorded 476 receiving yards on 40 catches as a freshman at Utah State. Now a redshirt sophomore for the Terps, he’s part of a large group of wideouts hoping to earn a significant role in the offense with D.J. Moore off to the NFL.
But this spring, Lewis has also spent time at cornerback. He played the position throughout high school, and shifted to defense about halfway through spring practice after primarily playing receiver beforehand.
“I’ll tell you what, he’s doing a heck of a job,” head coach DJ Durkin said. “He’s a guy that can help us on both sides of the ball. We’ll make a determination of which one he majors in—if he does both or just one—after we get out of spring. But he’s doing both right now and doing a really good job.”
It won’t come as a shock that the son of Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis is an intriguing defensive prospect. Rayshad was primarily a corner in high school, but said college teams thought his 5’10, 175-pound frame would make him a better fit at receiver. He played both as a senior and offense as a college freshman, but was excited when Durkin suggested he experiment on both sides with the Terps.
“He did come to me with the idea and I told him I’m up for it,” Lewis told reporters in late March. “I love competing, whether it’s on offense or defense.”
In recent years, Maryland has had a handful of offensive players switch sides of the ball. Shane Cockerille went from fullback/emergency quarterback to starting linebacker in 2016, and Tino Ellis, who was recruited as a four-star wide receiver but is now playing corner full-time. Andrew Isaacs, meanwhile, switched from tight end to defensive end in his final season, and his 1.5 second-half sacks against Towson were still enough to tie for third on the team at the end of the season.
Right now, though, Lewis seems to be the only candidate to continue this trend, and his positional status is still far from decided. Instead, the Terps are having some players move around within their side of the ball to find a role or position that best fits their skill set.
“I think we have really good depth at the running back position, so we’re using those guys in a lot of different spots offensively,” Durkin said. “And then in terms of on defense, there’s a lot of guys that we’re looking to try and help us in pass rush. Maybe some linebackers, some young guys, moving guys around to help us in pass rush situations. There have been some guys that do a really good job there so we’re going to keep it going.
“It’s all about guys creating and finding a role for themselves.”
In other news
One of Maryland’s current wide receivers, Tahj Capehart, has a torn ACL and is likely out for the 2018 season, while offensive lineman Damian Prince has a knee injury but won’t need surgery, Durkin said yesterday.
Here’s Justin with a look at how Maryland women’s basketball is shaping up for the near future.
Maryland baseball lost another midweek game, this time in 11 innings to William & Mary.
The women’s lacrosse team hosts Virginia tonight. It’ll be a battle of top-six teams on ESPNU.
The Baltimore Sun has a rundown of Maryland’s placement in way-too-early top-25 basketball polls for next season. The Terps currently have 60-1 odds to win the 2019 national championship.