Taken with the 11th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2014 NFL Draft, Taylor Lewan is a promising player for the next level of football. But for those who aren’t quite ready to let go of one of the best offensive tackles Michigan has ever had come through its program, I’ll take you through Lewan’s career, beginning in 2009, and we can relive the excitement one final time.
In 2009, after making a visit to the home of former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez and committing to the Wolverines, Lewan was set to be part of the next great chapter of Michigan linemen. His self-described nasty and defensive-minded streak would serve him well in the coming years.
But that 2009 season was not set to be the first of Lewan’s career. He took a redshirt for the year and spent time prepping himself for a much more intense brand of football than that of which he was used to back in Scottsdale, Ariz.
He was recruited largely because of his versatility as a lineman. In high school, Lewan spent his first three seasons as a defensive tackle, tracking down quarterbacks. His senior season, though, he made the switch to offensive tackle, now protecting quarterbacks. His combination of size and speed meant he’d be able to block for the dual-threat quarterbacks set to come through Rodriguez’s system.
In 2010, Lewan appeared in 11 games for the Wolverines, starting nine of them at left tackle. Lewan’s first appearance on the field came Sept. 11 against Notre Dame in the goal-line package in the first quarter.
Lewan’s first career start would come two weeks later in The Big House against Bowling Green. On Nov. 13 at Purdue, Lewan picked up a Michigan fumble and carried it forward for 11 yards. Capping off his first active season for the Wolverines, Lewan then made his ninth start of the season on Jan. 1 against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl.
The 2011 season was really the year for breaking into the national picture. Lewan started all 13 games for Michigan at left tackle, including the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech, a game the Wolverines would go on to win under first-year coach Brady Hoke.
Lewan was named to the All-Big 10 second team (coaches) and was a selection to Phil Steele’s Postseason and Midseason All-Big 10 second team.
In 2012, Lewan’s redshirt junior season, he once again started every game at left tackle. His start against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl was the 28th in a row for Lewan. On Sept. 15 against Massachusetts, he became the first offensive lineman since Boo Erben in 1948 to be credited with a touchdown.
This would be a season of praise and many accolades for the left tackle, as he was selected as a First-Team All-American by Walter Camp, AP, ESPN.com and SI.com. Lewan was also named the Big 10’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and received All-Big 10 First Team honors from both the coaches and media.
Lewan’s final season of 2013 almost seems to be watered down, but that’s surely because of a lack of winning in general. He still started all 13 games at left tackle and tired dearly to anchor a struggling offensive line.
He was named a First-Team All-American by Sporting News and a Second-Team All-American by Walter Camp, AP, CBSSports.com and SI.com. Lewan was once again named the Big 10’s offensive lineman of the year and again and All-Big 10 first team member according to both the coaches and media.
Taylor Lewan will also be remembered in Ann Arbor for his electric spirit and the pure passion with which he played. He loved to be intimidating and did it very well.
So long, Taylor.