Marquavius Lewis isn’t much of a talker.
The defensive end for South Carolina’s football team wasn’t particularly loquacious going back to his high school days. He said what he needed to, got to the point and went about his business.
He’ll be one of the few seniors on South Carolina’s defensive front next year, after starting his first year out of junior college. The staff wants him to speak up, but they were quite pleased with everything else he did.
“Qua is a work in progress from a leadership standpoint,” South Carolina defensive line coach Lance Thompson said. “But in terms of work ethic and just the way he approaches his work, he’s outstanding. Very conscientious guy, easy guy to coach, listens, he’s attentive in meetings. When you get on the field, he’s open to new ideas, new ways of doing things.”
He’ll have to be that way as he’s learning his third defense in as many seasons. Will Muschamp’s staff came in with their own plan, replacing Jon Hoke’s, and before that, he was in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Change has been a constant, of sorts, for Lewis, who didn’t play football in his early high school days and then started at linebacker (with a little wide receiver) at Greenwood High. He played a little defensive end, but went to junior college with the plan to find a more natural fit.
At 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, Lewis was an ideal fit for the team’s bigger defensive end spot. But that’s not the only place he’ll play.
“I think he’s versatile in the standpoint based on situations, he could play both ends,” Thompson said. “He could play the open side and the tight end side. But I think on third downs certainly, you can use him as an inside guy on pass-rush situations when the matchup is favorable. He’s got the capacity to learn that stuff. Being an older guy, he’s had a little bit of experience doing some different things.”
One of those will have to be leading with his words, at least a little.
The Gamecocks have a decent number of upperclassmen up front, but once the rest of the freshmen arrive, 11 will be in their first or second year.
Although Lewis is in only his second year on the Division I level, he projects as one of the best defenders South Carolina will have. That alone will carry weight.
“He’s not a naturally outspoken guy,” Thompson said. “He’s more one of those guys that leads by the way he does things. But we’ve talked, and we want to develop him more in terms of being a more vocal leader with the young guys. At the end of the day, I want guys to be comfortable with what they do and the way they do it, but I was really pleased with Qua. He’s an outstanding kid.”