Taylor Lewan and Craig Roh Interview

Submitted by TomVH on November 25th, 2008 at 4:31 PM

Most of you may not know that I live in Arizona. I recently [ed note: not that recently anymore!] got the chance to see one of the final football games of the regular season for Michigan defensive end commit Craig Roh and offensive line target Taylor Lewan, teammates at Chaparral High. Chaparral beat Lewan's former team Cactus Shadows 45-28. Their team is 9-1, and they both have a lot to do with their team's success. 

Craig Roh is a defensive end, four star recruit, and Michigan commit. Throughout the entire game he played strong, and didn't seem fatigued. The P.A. regularly announced his name for tackles and big plays. He was very vocal on the sidelines, focused on the team rather than himself.

He told me that was one of the things that drew him to Michigan, "They treat everyone like family, whether you're a freshman or not. I really like that each player gets treated the same, and with respect."

He also really likes the tradition of Michigan football, and has already started to build friendships with other players. "I've talked with Anthony Lalota a little bit," said Roh, "and I actually have Mike Martin's phone number, so we talk too, which has been good to get to know my future teammates."

We went on to talk about his excitement to get up to Ann Arbor this summer, where is his main focus will be building strength and putting on weight. When I asked him whether or not he was trying to convince his teammate, and friend to join him at Michigan, he looked back at Taylor down the field, and said "yeah, I want him to come to Michigan; I want him to be there with me."

While the recruiting process has slowed for Roh after his commitment, it's picked up for Taylor Lewan. Lewan, a recent convert to offensive tackle, stands 6' 7", 272 pounds and runs a 4.72 40. Before his senior season, he was relatively unknown, but now he's one of the hottest offensive line prospects in the country, a newly-minted four-star recruit and possessor of over 20 offers. Oklahoma State and Missouri are the latest BCS schools to add themselves to that list.

I had the privilege of talking with Taylor and his father Dave. They both seem to be taking the process for a ride, and are excited about Taylor's success. The elder Lewan was an athlete at Minnesota, and lived in the Detroit area earlier in his life. He told me "I'm not being biased at all, this is Taylor's time, and he's going to make the decision."

They both told me about Taylor's favorite player: former Michigan left tackle and current Miami Dolphin Jake Long. Dave told me that every Sunday, “Taylor watches the Dolphin games, and actually rewinds every offensive play to see what Jake was doing, and his technique.” Lewan draws comparisons to the first pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Taylor plays left tackle, wears the number 77, is one of the smartest players on and off the field, and has based his game on strength. Coming out of high school, Long was a recent convert to offensive line rated about where Lewan is.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Lewan since he was relatively new to the position, but he showed why colleges across the country are after him. He stands taller than most of the players on the field, and lacks the usual spare tire around his waist. He's solid muscle, and has a good frame to build on.

Then he strapped on his helmet, and showed me his best Jake Long impersonation. He plays with harnessed anger and emotion, and more importantly plays snap to whistle on every play. The play that stuck out  was when he drove a defensive end all the way past the right hash mark, and would've kept going had the whistle not blown. His dad told me that Taylor thought he had a poor game, but that type of play is pretty normal for his son. "If you watch his highlight film,” he said, “there's a play where Taylor drives a kid 30 yards down the field, and actually out of the camera shot."

He told me he actually prefers playing in the cold, which is refreshing to hear from a warm climate player.

Coach Dews has been in contact with Lewan regularly, and has made a great impression on him. "I really like how Coach Dews treats me, and when we talk, I feel like he's my friend," said Lewan. Taylor seems to have a great head on his shoulders, and the right support system in his family. He's looking for the right opportunity, and wants to play. Roh and Lewan were both recently invited to play in the Under Armour All American Game. They drill together after practice, and credit each other for their success.”There’s no way that I would be where I’m at right now without Craig, he’s pushed me, and I’ve pushed him to where we are today,” said Taylor. Lewan told me that he will be taking one of his visits to Michigan. He originally planned to do so this weekend, but Chapparal has a playoff game and he has to reschedule. He currently plans to visit December 6th.

Michigan has some good competition for this highly touted recruit, but I can confidently say he will be a household name where ever he goes. Both he and his family spoke highly of Michigan, and had some great things to say about the coaching staff as well. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out, and there will be a lot of teams watching his every move.

Comments

Huss

November 13th, 2008 at 12:39 PM ^

Is Lewan like Jelani Jenkins, in the sense that he's still considering any and all offers at the moment and there's no point in trying to speculate favorites?

I guess the Jake Long thing kind of works in our favor. Not a whole lot, though.

evenyoubrutus

November 13th, 2008 at 12:45 PM ^

"They treat everyone like family, whether you're a freshman or not. I really like that each player gets treated the same, and with respect." Don't tell that to Justin Boren. His response will be "See! He's been brainwashed already, and he hasn't even set foot on campus!"

Chrisgocomment

November 13th, 2008 at 12:47 PM ^

Tom, once again you've outdone yourself. This is great.

I love how Roh said that the coaching staff "treats everyone like family". LOL.

Man, with his teammate Roh committed, his adulation of Jake Long and the fact that he prefers to play in the cold all taken into consideration you have to feel pretty good about this kid ending up in Ann Arbor.

CincyBlue

November 13th, 2008 at 1:24 PM ^

Is it legal to have a former player call a recruit on the behalf of Michigan? It seems a call from Jake would go a long way in getting him to Ann Arbor. Thoughts..........

Magnus

November 13th, 2008 at 1:29 PM ^

I have a good feeling about Taylor Lewan. Not only does he seem to like us, but he seems to fit our offense perfectly. For some reason, I'm pretty confident that he'll come to Michigan.

TomVH

November 13th, 2008 at 1:50 PM ^

No, distance won't be a factor. And as far as Jake Long calling him, I'm checking if that's legal or not, and I might be able to make it happen if it is. I left a message with someone, and I'm waiting for them to call back. I'll let you know about the legality, and if it's going to happen. I actually thought about this before.

msoccer10

November 13th, 2008 at 2:00 PM ^

we should be doing it all the time. Anytime a kid says "____ is my favorite player" and inserts Brady or Woodson or Long or someone to that effect, we should be trying to make that happen.

BleedingBlue

November 13th, 2008 at 2:48 PM ^

I was privy to a story (which could have been total, complete bullshit, but came from a former college player that is connected to a lot of people fwiw) about how a bunch of michigan people set it up so Brady would call Pryor the morning of the super bowl last year. They reportedly repeatedly told Pryor to have his phone with him around a certain time that morning and expect the call... and.....Brady called and Pryor didn't answer.

Could be a stupid made up rumor to mongerize Pryor, but if true could leave open said phone call between Jake and Taylor which would be really cool for both of them probably. Jake as a mentor and Taylor as mentee over the next five years of both of their dominance of opposing Defensive Ends.

Rush N Attack

November 13th, 2008 at 2:01 PM ^

Thanks Tom.

One quick question....do any of the recruits ever tell you which coaches use "negative recruiting"? For example, any coaches telling him not to come to Michigan because of the Spread Offense? I feel like it's some dirty little secret that everyone knows, but no one will just come right out and say which coaches do it.

J. Lichty

November 13th, 2008 at 3:58 PM ^

recruiting on behalf of the school, unless of course they are doing so Ed Martin style.

Just as TomVH can call up Lewan if he wants to take Jake Long's phone call, there is no problem with it. If it is done at the request of the coach, would probably be regulated by NCAA rules with respect times and number of contacts, but right now, Long is just citizen Long.

Magnus

November 13th, 2008 at 4:11 PM ^

If the illegality doesn't apply to Tom Brady, then why is the NCAA investigating whether writing on a kid's Facebook page is a potential recruiting violation?

Rush N Attack

November 13th, 2008 at 4:17 PM ^

13.01.3 Off-Campus Recruiting.
13.01.4 Recruiting by Representatives of Athletics Interests.
Representatives of an institution's athletics interests (as defined in Bylaw 13.02.13) are prohibited from making in-person, on- or off-campus recruiting contacts, or written or telephonic communications with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete's relatives or legal guardians. Specific examples of exceptions to the application of this regulation are set forth in Bylaw 13.1.2.2 (see Bylaw 13.1.3.5.1.1).

13.02.12.1 Recruited Prospective Student-Athlete.
13.02.13 Representative of Athletics Interests.
A "representative of the institution's athletics interests" is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution's executive or athletics administration to: (Revised: 2/16/00)

(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's intercollegiate athletics program;

(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;

(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;

(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or

(e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution's athletics program.

BlueTimesTwo

November 14th, 2008 at 2:27 PM ^

Direct contact may not be allowed, but I don't see why RR can't tell Taylor (as long as it is true) that he told Jake that Taylor was a big fan and Jake was really excited about having Taylor come to Michigan. "Jake watched some of Taylor's film and he said that he sees a lot of himself in Taylor's play and he thinks that Taylor would be a great fit as part of the Michigan family."

Or something to that effect. . .

That would just be a statement of fact - Jake said this - not an in-person, written or telephonic communication. Use every angle without violating the rules.

Blue Balls

November 14th, 2008 at 5:59 PM ^

Players would help recruit some of these players. I follow Pa. High School Football and wear my Michigan jacket to every game I can. Michigan Football has alot of support in Pa. and even though Michigan was taken for a ride by T. Pryor, many great Pa High School Players would love the chance to play for Michigan. Michigan's Fan Base is really nation wide. If I hear rumors about a Pa. High School Player thinking about Michigan, Ill go watch him play. My suggestion is that other Michigan Football Fans across the country do the same and wear their Michigan shirts and caps, it tells their families and friends yea I saw the Michigan Fans checking you out at the game.

blueman

November 25th, 2008 at 6:03 PM ^

Thanks for sharing. This kid is much needed at UM. There is no Jake Long caliber kid on the team now. TL would be a fixture at LT for 4 years if he decides to be a Michigan Man. The best to him in any event.

shorts

November 26th, 2008 at 3:17 AM ^

Hey Tom, just curious where you're located in AZ.
I live in Chandler, and have seen Chaparral play on many occasions (not this year, unfortunately).