Every season a new crop of freshmen and redshirt freshmen have the chance to make their mark in College Football. Last year Tate Forcier made an immediate impact and led Michigan to a 4-0 start. Who will it be this year? The Wolverines have two redshirt freshmen who could make major contributions this fall. Those players, who received rave reviews from their teammates at the spring game, are Taylor Lewan and Cam Gordon.
Lewan, at 6-foot-8, 290 pounds is a beast. According to Zoltan Mesko, Lewan can run a 4.8 40-yard dash, which is freakishly fast for somebody his size. “He is an amazing athlete,” said Craig Roh. Lewan is aggressive and physical. He is the kind of player who won’t stop blocking somebody until he has flattened them on the turf.
“He is dirty sometimes,” said Roh. “Which is what a Big Ten offensive lineman should be like, just a nasty guy. I never hear anyone on the defense saying, Taylor is really nice guy to go against. It’s always like, he’s holding me or he’s knocking me over when the plays over, he’s just a nasty guy, which is the kind of mentality that we need on the offensive line.”
Lewan has a great opportunity to seize the starting left tackle spot. He is battling senior Perry Dorrestein for the position. From what I’ve seen and heard, I’ll be surprised if he’s not starting against UConn.
“Taylor is quite the character,” said Elliot Mealer. “He’s a great kid. When it comes to football he flips the switch. He gets out there and gets after whoever’s lined up across from him and he’s made great strides this spring.”
Lewan is also the kind of player that will make everybody around him better. He has an appetite for football and is very hungry to learn and improve. He also has the luxury of having some seasoned linemen to look to for advice. He doesn’t have to carry the load this year, but he just might do it anyhow out of sheer determination.
“He’s [Lewan] a guy that plays really hard and makes the guys around him want to play really hard too,” said Steve Schilling. “He likes to hit people, sometimes he gets it going a little too aggressive, but it’s always better to have to pull them back a little bit. He’s always coming up to me asking me questions. He wants me to take him into the film room and show him stuff on film, stay after and work on stuff. His work ethic is going to take him a long ways.”
Cam Gordon received the John F. Maulbetsch Award, which is awarded annually following spring drills to the freshman athlete on the basis of desire, character, and capacity for leadership potential for future success. He also appears to have the starting free safety position all but locked up.
Gordon, 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, was moved from wide receiver to safety at the start of spring practice and the move appears to be a stroke of genius. He is a natural and a leader. He is the kind of player that can lead the Wolverine secondary for the next 4 years.
“At the safety position he kind of reminds you of a lion out there,” said Mealer. “He’s just kind of crouched down and waiting to attack. He’s been great this whole spring. He’s a good kid, he works hard and he deserves it.”
In Lewan, Michigan has a potential anchor at left tackle for the next 4 years. In Gordon, they have a leader in the secondary who is fast and physical. Lewan will grind defensive players into a pulp and Gordon will knock the heads off of opposing offensive players. They are both high character guys that fit the mold of the type of player Rich Rodriguez is looking for.