|Taylor Lewan (#77) protects Denard Robinson
(image via AnnArbor.com)
Weight: 302 lbs.
High school: Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #77
Last year: I ranked Lewan #28 and said he would be a spot starter at left tackle. He started 9 games at left tackle.
Lewan was one of the most exciting players to watch on the football field in 2010. I had been anticipating his debut since he was recruited, but his slight frame (he was listed at only 283 lbs. last season) made it seem as if he was still a year or two away from being ready for Big Ten football. When he got on the field, though, it was clear that he belonged. For the first time in the Rich Rodriguez era, it seemed that an offensive tackle was on the field because he was good and not just because there weren't any other options. Between driving linemen and linebackers downfield, Lewan did struggle with false starts that occurred a bit too frequently; however, Lewan gave Michigan fans high hopes for what might be coming in the next few seasons.
Now that part-time starter Perry Dorrestein has graduated, Lewan's importance to the team has increased dramatically. The starter on the opposite side looks like it will be Mark Huyge, a serviceable but nondescript lineman. After that the depth chart goes to redshirt sophomore Michael Schofield, who has barely played, and then a bunch of walk-ons. With fragile superstar quarterback Denard Robinson setting up in the pocket, it's imperative that Lewan and Co. keep him healthy. Big #77 put on approximately 20 lbs. in the offseason and while he probably doesn't have the name recognition or team profile to warrant many accolades this season, I wouldn't be surprised to see him contend for All-America honors in the years to come.
Prediction: Starting left tackle; Second Team All-Big Ten