One of the deepest d-lines in the country gets even deeper.
Our journey through the very foundation of the future of Ohio State football continues with another visit to the defense. In this edition of Bucks to the Future, we take a look at 247Composite 4-star rated defensive end Tyquan Lewis. Lewis isn't a name that's gotten a ton of buzz in a class that also includes the likes of Joey Bosa and Michael Hill also on the d-line, but Lewis is considered the 10th best at his position in the 2013 class. The North Carolina product also garnered offers from Auburn and Clemson and as the fifth and final early enrollee we profile, could use that extra time in the system to play his way into consideration for more on the field time this coming fall.
(Grain of salt) 40 average: 4.77
Tyquan Lewis, a Tarboro, (part of the Rocky Mount metro area, or, if that's Greek to you, 45 minuets northwest of Greenville) North Carolina product, saw Ohio State as a high ceilinged option pretty early on in the process. Following his junior year, he told Eric Guimaraes of Palmetto Sports, "They say that if I go there, I could play for a national championship." WIth the highest profile other teams recruiting him being Clemson, LSU, and USC, it probably wasn't a bad bet that Ohio State would give him a decent shot at reaching the pinnacle of his craft.
Still, even as a high school senior to be, Lewis had never visited Ohio State. There were murmurs early June would mark the first time Lewis would make the trek to Columbus, and he ultimately followed through on his plan to both camp there take in a longer-ish 3-day unofficial to see what the Buckeyes' central Ohio campus had to offer him.
Though some were pegging him as a possible SAM linebacker, but weak side defensive end always seemed like a natural draw for Lewis as well. It didn't take long during his time in Columbus for him to make an impression, as by the 10th, Lewis had a committable offer to his name. Still, he knew he probably needed to take his time and perform his due diligence lest he risk making a hasty decision.
He continued talking up Ohio State after his visit, however. Both citing how much his mother spoke to Urban Meyer, as well as the draw to work with former Super Bowl champ, Mike Vrabel. On the prospects of going to Ohio State, Lewis had the following to say:
The early June trip clearly left an indelible impression, as Lewis decided to make a return visit to Columbus for Ohio State's inaugural Friday Night Lights. The second also went well, and with mom now on board should her son decide to spend four-to-five years up north in Ohio, it was merely a matter of doing some soul searching.
Lewis also spent part of his summer in Eugene, Oregon for Nike's the The Opening 2012. You can watch him go against future Wolverine lineman David Dawson as well as Georgia Tech tackle-to-be Shamire Devine around the 3:25 mark here:
Around the same time, Lewis decided that graduating early and enrolling was the path for him. By August, he was speaking openly about not dragging out the process much longer and making a firm decision. His goal was to take official visits to all of his top three, North Carolina, Ohio State, and LSU, but he also acquiesced that if the right fit presented itself, he wouldn't delay pulling the trigger.
The morning of August 22nd, the scuttlebutt grew louder that Lewis had made a commitment, but wasn't exactly disclosing to whom just quite yet. Those whispers were set correct when Lewis revealed he probably wouldn't be unveiling his decision until September or October at earliest.
Less than a month later, Lewis decided to make things official, and a hold a 4 p.m. press conference at his Tarboro High School to announce one of the more challenging decisions in a young student athlete's lives. Reporters gathered in the small North Carolina town the afternoon of September 20th, 2012, and Lewis was all set to reveal his choice between his 3 finalists, the 3 previously named sides.
Drawing some comparisons to a more gifted Thaddeus Gibson from some Buckeye enthusiasts, the general consensus was optimistic with respect to Lewis' chances to choose Ohio State. Lewis rewarded their faith when just after 4pm from his high school gym, he pledged to attend Ohio State after graduating.
Lewis' senior year on the field would prove to be one he'll likely never forget. Tarboro would carry a 21 consecutive game winning streek into the North Carolina Class 2A state championship where they'd be playing for a fourth consecutive state title. Lewis suffered an injury in the title game, but battle through to the best of his abilities anyways, being named the game's defensive player of hte game in a losing effort. He'd finish the year with 13 sacks, one year removed from recording 12.
In January, Lewis enrolled early as planned at Ohio State where he presently rooms with J.T. Barrett, Tracy Sprinkle, Cameron Burrows, and Eli Apple.
Lewis' under the radar-ness, coupled with early enrollee status, could prove favorable for a line that will be losing John Simon and Nathan Williams. Where Lewis will have his work cut out for him, is going against the likes of Noah Spence, Michael Bennett, and even Adolphus Washington situationally for repetitions. Steve Miller and J.T. Moore are no jokes either.
Some believe Se'Von Pittman, the former Canton McKinley product who missed all of 2012 with injuries, was the lone freshman to never lose his black stripe after also graduating and enrolling early last spring. The injuries may well have been the real story there, but should he get right, there's another name to add to the pecking order. And you certainly can't forget Lewis' roommate, Tracy Sprinkle either.
The good news is that historically, Urban Meyer's never shied away from playing any player on the defensive line who's efforts on the practice field have merited it. At Florida, it was hardly uncommon for venerable line changes to be made mid-series to insert fresh new attacking ends or plug gaps in the middle. If Lewis practices at a Big Ten football caliber level and shows an equal fire in Camp Marotti under the Buckeyes' relentless task master of a strength coach, having him get some snaps in garbage time in the early games and then perhaps even when league play roles around could be on the radar. There aren't any guarantees, however, and any unforeseen physical setbacks could prove costly.
Highlight Jam Session
One of These Things is Blatantly False
- Tyquan Lewis was ranked as a four-star at each of the three top major recruiting services.
- Lewis had 63 tackles from the defensive end position as a junior in high school
- Lewis has three younger brothers (future Buckeyes?)
- Lewis is a big fan of Ohio's snow.