Taylor Lewan had no plans of becoming a Wolverine the day before he left for Ann Arbor on his official visit. However, once he got into town, those plans changed in rapid fashion.
"It was just the environment," an excited Lewan told GoBlueWolverine. "Michigan has the biggest alumni base in the country. I knew Coach Dews, and he's a great guy. Before we left Thursday, he told me to keep football out of it for a second and you know, just know that it's the right place for you. And the longer I thought about it, with alumni that huge, getting a degree from Michigan is not an ordinary degree. And it's a great school for football, and even though they didn't have the best year this year, they're going to be Big Ten champions before you know it. But I took myself out of football for a second and I realized it was the best place for me!"
"We went to the learning center on Saturday morning, and there is a lady (Ms. Shari Acho) there who just specializes in the football players. She's got several tutors there, and she really makes it hard for you to fail. We have all the resources right there, and I need that. I need that kind of support. I knew that she was there to help me and help everyone else. And i's hard to take football out of this because football is all around. Like the Big House, I was blown away. I've seen ASU and I've seen Minnesota's new stadium, and those hold like 70,000 people tops. This one holds 104,000 and they always get 110,000 people in there. It's sold out every game even with the season they had. And that's awesome. I love being the center of attention, so it's awesome."
Joining his son on the trip to Michigan was Taylor's father, a Minnesota alumnus and 'Big Ten guy'. In the earlier proceedings of his recruitment, Taylor mentioned that his dad was rooting for the Golden Gophers. That is no longer the sentiment of the elder Lewan.
"My dad was blown away. He and I didn't really see each other that much that day, Saturday. He was with other coaches while I was out and about. But by the end of the night, I pulled him aside at Coach Rodriguez's house and told him that I wanted to commit, that I wanted to do this -- and he was all for it. So I committed. At first he was pulling for Minnesota a bit, but he told me this was my decision and I have to own it. It's the next four years of my life, not the next four years of his. He's a Wolverine now -- he's all about it!"
Lewan's father wasn't the only person ecstatic at the decision Taylor made. Committing at Coach Rodriguez's house, many celebratory cheers went around with the coaches and several of the coach's family members.
"We went to his house for dinner, and his wife, I've got to give props to her, made the best cheese I've ever had in my life. All the coaches were hanging out. The fact that they weren't trying to sell me, like some coaches do, telling me I could have all this. They showed me what it was all about, and saying if you want this you should come here. We were all sitting in there and Coach Rodriguez was telling stories about a guy named Dusty (Coach Rod's top-staffer who followed RR to Michigan), and he was cracking everybody up. The fact that he was sitting there with two recruits and parents sitting there and just being himself, blew me away. I knew for the next four years of my life he was going to be taking the reins and helping me out ... that is when I knew that it was perfect for me."
Two other very important people found out shortly after Taylor's decision came. One was excited, and one needed a bit of persuasion but was completely supportive after meeting with the people looking after Taylor the next four years. Those were teammate and fellow Michigan commit Craig Roh, and Taylor's mother.
"Craig was way excited. It should be easier going to a school where we already know somebody. It's awesome for us, and I'm excited to have him as a teammate. We joked about rooming together -- it's a little early for that, but I don't see why we wouldn't. I called my mom before I made the decision and asked her how she would feel if I committed to Michigan, and she said she supported me. She kind of felt that I should take more visits, but she knew this was right for me. She'd met Coach Dews before and she really liked him, but she had never met Coach Rod until our in-home visit with him. And after meeting him for the first time she loves him. She loves him a lot, and she thinks he's a really cool guy. She's a Wolverine now too."
While many of the present Michigan commits have made comments regarding the future about Big Ten championships and Rose Bowl appearances, Taylor made strong overtures about his future without 'crossing the line'.
"(Laughing) I'm not going to say anything that gets me in trouble! But my goal next year -- I don't want to come in and be thinking I'm second best to anyone. I want to play as a true freshman. I've thought of it that way. Going into competition I always try to think of myself as the best, whether I am or not. I can't be afraid. I have to come in and do my own thing."
That attitude will certainly help carry Lewan through his four years at Michigan. It may even garner him some early comparisons to former Wolverine and No. 1 draft pick Jake Long. Because, recruiting gurus have chimed in not only in the similarities in their games coming out of high school, but also the similarity in their personal appearances. And Lewan will even wear Jake Long's college number at Michigan.
"I'm not offended that people say I look like him, he's a good looking guy (laughing). It is awful big shoes to fill, but I'm taking the attitude that I'm going to fill them."
While a flurry of uncertainty has centered over some of the current Wolverine verbals, Lewan stated that the Maize and Blue nation have nothing to worry about concerning him.
"I'm done. I'm a Wolverine now!"
Coach Rod turned it on with Lewan
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