Michigan

Taylor Lewan’s return to Michigan reflects a special program and player

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It’s not every day that someone turns down millions of dollars for an extra year of going to class, living in a dorm and playing football for your college team.

But then again Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan clearly isn’t just any player and the Wolverines aren’t just any program.

Wednesday, the junior offensive tackle Lewan announced that instead of making his way to the NFL where he was almost guaranteed to be a top 15 pick, he would return to the program he loves citing “unfinished business”.

“A lot of people had questions about whether I was mature enough to go to the NFL right now, and if you play football, and you have a mind-set to play football, you don’t like to hear any criticism,” Lewan said. “With the game I played (against South Carolina), I think individually I played one of my best games I have in my career, and proved to myself I could go to the NFL and be successful.

“But when you go to a place like Michigan, the tradition here and everything it has to offer, what Coach Hoke has brought into my life and all the things he’s done for me, along with Coach Funk and Coach Borges … When you really go into detail about it and think and take the time to sit down, turn your phone off and think to yourself about all the things that are best for you, there was no doubt in my mind I have to return to the University of Michigan.”

In addition to Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges, former Michigan standout offensive lineman Jake Long helped Lewan make that big decision as Wednesday’s big announcement grew near.

“When I first started this process, you just want someone to give you the answer. Nobody wants to make this big of decision, especially at the age of 21. But he told me the same thing everyone else did — it’s your decision.

“I asked him why he stayed, and it’s funny: Every single thing he said about staying at the University of Michigan went through my head countless times. It’s kind of interesting to think we had the same mind-set going into this thing.”

Sure Lewan is going to have his critics and there’s going to be the haters putting down his decision to not make money playing football next season and instead do it for free.

But it’s not about that for Lewan and he should be applauded.

Lewan is a proven program-player who’s going to get one last opportunity to play in the Big House while he’ll have the rest of his football playing career to make an impact in the NFL.

And it’s not to say he hasn’t made an impact with Michigan. Not every player who runs out of the tunnel is projected to be a clear-cut early first round pick in the draft. But Lewan will also get one last opportunity to avenge last season’s regular season loss to Ohio State and challenge for a Big Ten title. Something that’s very possible for Michigan especially with Lewan coming back.

Going into next season, Michigan is losing offensive linemen Patrick Omameh and Ricky Barnum. If Michigan would of lost Lewan the task of replacing him may of caused Brady Hoke extra headache. But with his return expect Devin Gardner to definitely benefit with strong protection on his blind side while the rest of the offensive line (who will be very young) benefits from Lewan’s strong leadership capabilities and outstanding skill.

h/t: Mlive.com

 

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