Big news out of Ann Arbor today, as offensive tackle Taylor Lewan announced that he will in fact stay at Michigan for his final year.
The reason: he wanted to win a Big Ten championship.
Lewan's return adds key depth to what would have been a very young offensive line without him. (The only other upperclassman would have been right tackle Michael Schofield.) This, he said, was also a major factor in his decision.
Here are some of Lewan's quotes from the AP article by Larry Lage:
''People don't really understand why I wouldn't leave for the NFL,'' Lewan said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press before making his announcement. ''But when I came to the University of Michigan, I didn't understand the tradition of this place, either. Now, I do. In the NFL, you just come and go. But here at Michigan, it's not like that. I love these guys - my teammates are my best friends - and I want to stay to win Big Ten championships.''
Lewan said his teammates were very surprised he decided to stay.
''The (NFL) advisory board came back and said that I'd be a high, first-round pick,'' Lewan told AP. ''At first, it was difficult to turn that down. But the most important thing to me is the University of Michigan and winning a Big Ten championship before I leave.''
This is very surprising indeed, but it just shows the quality of players that Michigan has been able to get, both on the field and off, even if Taylor has frustrated us at times with his frat-boy demeanor and his blunt responses. He's definitely grown up a lot since he came in as the sassy freshman.
A redshirt junior (thus academic senior) and first team All-American, Lewan would have certainly been a first-round NFL draft pick had he decided to declare. Instead, in typical Michigan Man fashion, Lewan has decided that a Big Ten championship is more important.
Great news! Go Blue!