Utah State rising sophomore wide receiver Rayshad Lewis finished spring practice having excited the coaching staff with the possibility of being a two-way contributor next season, but he has now reportedly decided to leave the program.
Scout.com published a report citing sources Friday morning that Lewis, the son of former NFL All-Pro linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis, has decided to transfer from USU — though he had not decided what school he'd transfer into.
Lewis has seemed to acknowledge his intention to transfer on Twitter in his replies to those wishing him well, including teammate and wide receiver Ron'quavion Tarver.
The loss would come as a significant blow to the Aggies, who were planning on using his talent in multiple ways this coming season. The second-leading returning receiver on the team, Lewis started the Blue-White spring game on April 8 as a defensive back before changing jerseys and moving to receiver later in the game.
"Rayshad Lewis is a two-way player," Aggies coach Matt Wells said following the team's spring game. "The guy is a really good corner. He's got great anticipation skills getting in and out of breaks. He's a weapon in the slot as well as in special teams. I don't know, today, what it looks like. But I think there's absolutely a chance he'll play both ways at some point."
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound speedster from Orlando, Fla., established himself as a playmaker as a true freshman. He played in every game and started seven as a wide receiver despite playing cornerback primarily in high school. Last season, his 40 receptions and 476 receiving yards were the second-most in program history by a freshman.
Largely overlooked by the Division I programs in his home state of Florida, Lewis admitted during spring ball that he used being snubbed by bigger schools as fuel in his first season. It will be interesting to see where Lewis ends up and if his one season of college football has changed the perception of him in the eyes of any Power 5 conference schools or schools closer to home.
"I feel like God doesn't make mistakes so everything happens for a reason, and a lot of them told me I was too small to play defensive back and all that kind of stuff," Lewis said during spring practice. "I really just used that as motivation to just propel me forward and never let anybody tell me what I can and can't do."
Lewis provided a big-play threat offensively. Lewis' 68-yard reception against Arkansas State was the team's longest pass play of the season. Against Nevada, he took a handoff and darted his way to a 59-yard touchdown run.
As the end of spring practice approached, Lewis spent a week working with the defensive backs in practice and meetings as well as an intrasquad scrimmage before spending the final week with the receivers.
He said during the week he was practicing with the defense that he'd always had interest in playing corner, but he also he'd been intrigued by the prospect of being "one of those athletes that can go both ways."