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Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Updated: January 2, 10:25 AM ET
Lewan slow-plays announcement

By Michael Rothstein
WolverineNation

TAMPA, Fla. -- Taylor Lewan smiled and laughed for a second when he heard the question -- the third one he received following Tuesday's Outback Bowl and the most pressing immediately for the Wolverines.

So, what's next for you?

Taylor Lewan
Taylor Lewan performed well Tuesday against Jadeveon Clowney, arguably the best defensive player in the nation.
"That's a great question," Lewan said. "I haven't addressed the team yet. I'll address the team and do whatever [Michigan SID] Justin Dickens, Coach [Brady] Hoke wants to do, however he wants to release that out to the public.

"It's not fair to my team to tell you all and then not tell them."

So for now, a waiting game. Technically, Lewan has a decision to make whether or not he turns pro. But in reality, it is less of a decision than the prolonging of an announcement. Lewan has said that he knows what he is going to do.

He said what happened in the Outback Bowl would not change his decision and wouldn't make a difference. He knew what he planned on doing. Yet, another exchange Tuesday was telling.

Asked if Tuesday had no impact on his decision, he agreed. Then he was asked if his performance in the Outback Bowl helped solidify it.

"Sure," Lewan said. "Yes."

What Lewan did against South Carolina and its superstar defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was hold his own. In some ways, more than that. He earned the respect of the Gamecocks' sophomore, who had only four tackles and didn't pressure Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner nearly as much as anticipated.

The two had a level of respect for each other -- when Lewan was briefly injured in the second half, the two had a word before Lewan left the field -- and both had their moments.

"He's pretty good," Clowney said. "I would give him and the guy from Tennessee, two best linemen I've gone against since I went to college. He moved his feet pretty good."

Clowney said part of the reason was Michigan putting Lewan in position to block Clowney well by receiving some help and putting Lewan in a position to set his feet in the backfield before Clowney got there, giving Lewan the advantage.

Lewan had heard for most of the past month about Clowney and how difficult a matchup he would be. He was and is, but Lewan also showed his skill and potential, which is why he is considered a prospect for the top of the first round of whichever NFL draft he declares for. Lewan is considered one of the top two draft eligible tackles.

"I think I played really well," Lewan said. "Everyone told me he was unblockable one-on-one in everything, all this. [Tuesday], I did my job, my job for Michigan.

"At the same time, that doesn't matter. We didn't win the game, we weren't successful. I can be as happy as I want with how I played, but at the end of the day, you know, we didn't win the game."

Now, the main question remains of whether this game was Lewan's last at Michigan -- and for at least a little while longer, that answer will remain in some doubt.