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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Lewan decision to stay a stunner

By Michael Rothstein

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For a moment, there was silence in the Junge Champions Center on Michigan’s campus as people took a moment to figure out exactly what they heard.

There was a moment of trying to process whether or not Taylor Lewan, who has been known for making jokes throughout his career, was being serious.

He had just said he was coming back to Michigan and that it was a no-brainer.

Taylor Lewan
Taylor Lewan went against the grain, as the potential top-10 NFL draft pick decided to return to Michigan.
Turns out, he was completely serious.

To say this is a surprising decision would be an insult to the word surprise. It’s a jaw-dropper. Lewan was slated to be a sure first-round draft pick, perhaps someone who could end up in the Top 10 if the right team and right workout happened at the same time.

Instead, all of that might actually happen -- but in 2014 instead of a few months from now.

Quite frankly, this is a risk for Lewan. He was given a good review from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. He went into the Outback Bowl against South Carolina and Jadeveon Clowney and said he treated it how he would treat that game how he would treat his potential future games in the NFL and handled himself well.

And then he decided to stay anyway.

“It was a tough decision,” Lewan said. “But when you really go into detail about it, take the time to sit down and turn your phone off and think to yourself and all the things that are best for you, there was no doubt in my mind that I have to return to the University of Michigan.”

By staying, Lewan is leaving a lot of money on the table and is taking a risk. He laughed when he was asked whether or not he would be taking out an insurance policy just in case -- “that’s definitely happening,” he said -- but he should.

His decision, though, is an unquestionable positive for Michigan. It now only needs to worry about replacing the interior of its offensive line instead of everyone except for senior tackle Michael Schofield. It also gives the Wolverines one of the best linemen in college football to tutor the interior linemen in their first seasons starting or playing significant snaps.

Lewan’s decision means Michigan now has an almost de-facto leader in the locker room -- one who only enhanced his credibility with his teammates by making this decision.

But it is a choice which has no other way to describe it. It’s a stunner.