BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University football team is expected to add two potential impact players when school starts next Monday.
Wide receiver Roger Lewis, a four-star recruit while in high school, and defensive back Marcus Milton, his teammate at both Pickerington Central High School near Columbus and at Jirah Prep in Matthews, N.C., will enroll at BG for the spring semester.
Both players will be able to practice with the team this spring.
“I heard from a lot of people at Bowling Green — players like Jude Adjei-Barimah and Matt Johnson, and coach [Dino] Babers,” Lewis said of his recruitment. “They didn’t pressure me, but they said BG would be a great fit for me.
“BG seems like a team full of guys who stick together and who win together.”
Lewis and Milton played key roles on a Pickerington Central football team that advanced to the Division I state title game in 2011 and finished 11-3. Lewis caught 22 passes for 450 yards and eight touchdowns while returning three kickoffs and one punt for a TD that season. Milton had a team-high nine tackles in the state championship game, then finished fourth in the 100-meter dash at the Division I state track meet in 2012 with a time of 10.97 seconds.
Lewis originally committed to Ohio State for 2012 but did not sign after he was charged with two counts of rape. Lewis was acquitted of one count and a deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial on the second count.
Lewis pled guilty to falsification, a first degree misdemeanor, before the second trial.
“Everything that happened made me a stronger person,” said Lewis, who otherwise declined to comment on the incident. “It matured me a lot — it made me grow up.
“Now I have set goals for myself, and I work every day to achieve them. Everything that happened made me realize that it was time to grow up.”
Milton said he and Lewis have been friends since fourth grade, so it was easy for Milton to support his friend during his trouble.
“He stayed focused on his goals [during that time],” Milton said. “No matter what people said, he kept his head up.
“He’s my brother. We are closer than any blood brothers could be. I know that if I was in that situation, he would be there to support me.”
Both players listed similar factors that attracted them to Bowling Green.
“Their defense is good, and I felt at home when I visited,” said Milton, who played cornerback in high school but moved to safety at Jirah Prep. “Also, I felt the coaches at BG really cared about me.
“I really liked the school because I think they will help me with my major [in sports management or business management].”
Lewis mentioned the academics at Bowling Green as well, then added, “I really like their fan base, and I watched their fans at their games. Plus, the BG coaches are really cool.
“I did a lot of research on coach Babers, and I love a fast-paced offense like the one he coached at Baylor. I look forward to working with the other players at BG to learn it together.”