Lewis joins the Herd

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

The worst-kept secret is now official.

After verbally committing to play for the Marshall Thundering Herd last spring, Ironton senior running back Darius Lewis made it official by signing a national letter-of-intent Wednesday morning.

“It felt great back then (to commit), but now it’s exciting. Now I’m part of the team. I’m happy,” Lewis said.

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Although Lewis committed to the Herd, other schools came calling. Lewis said he never waivered on his decision.

“It’s always been Marshall for me since day one when I committed,” Lewis said. “I like the new weight program, the new facilities and coach (Mark) Snyder who is from here.”

Lewis played halfback at Ironton, but the 5-foot-10, 215-pounder is expected to combine his speed, quickness, size and powerful running to be a fullback in the Marshall offense.

“It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll play wherever they put me as long as I play. Coach Snyder told me I could play some at fullback and mostly on special teams,” Lewis said. “I’ll probably put on 20 pounds. It won’t hurt me. Mostly the coaches said to just come in shape and they’ll do the rest.”

Lewis was the Southeast Ohio Division IV district Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. He was named to the AP All-Ohio first team each season.

Lewis rushed for 1,302 yards on 165 carries, averaged 7.9 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns plus 10 conversion points as a junior. Last season, he rushed for 1,439 yards on 203 carries and scored 22 touchdowns.

Snyder, who was named the Marshall head football coach last spring, made Lewis his first recruit of his program.

Snyder was an All-Ohio quarterback and safety for Ironton, guiding the team to the Division III state runner-up in 1982. He was later an All-American defensive or Marshall.

before signing with Morehead State. He later transferred to Marshall and was an Associated Press All-American defensive back and set the school single-season record with 10 interceptions.