Taylor Lewan recalls Jadeveon Clowney's infamous hit

INDIANAPOLIS -- It would make sense if Michigan's Taylor Lewan had done his best to forget the 2013 Outback Bowl -- the scene of Jadeveon Clowney's legendary hit on Wolverines RB Vincent Smith.

Lewan actually remembers that game fondly, he said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Clowney hit was an exclamation point on the Gamecocks' win that day, but Lewan recalls it as one of his finest performances.

"With (Clowney's) speed and his strength, the combination of that and quickness, he's a very good player," he said. "Just taking the time I had to watch his film, do the things I had to do, almost put myself in an NFL situation, spending those extra hours at night, which is what you have to do if you want this to be your job. I feel like I played one of my best games against him."

Clowney's slobberknocker was played on a loop for what seemed like months. Lewan didn't budge when he was asked if he's tired of watching the play, though.

"I'm not sick of it at all," he said. "You can only control what you can control and whatever ESPN or NFL Network wants to put on their air is up to them. It was not my fault. I hate to say it like that because it's like I am blaming other people, but it was a double team between me and the guard on the backside linebacker. He just went unblocked. At the same time, whether he was unblocked or not, that was one hell of a hit."

The year since that game against Clowney was a trying one for Lewan. He returned for his senior season at Michigan even though he was considered a likely early first-round pick in 2013, and while he's still a potential top-10 pick, his stock certainly wasn't helped by an up and down 2013 campaign.

He also was linked to two off-field incidents that he was asked to address Thursday by the media.

Lewan was reportedly among several people questioned by police about his role in a November dispute after an Ohio State fan said he was assaulted outside of an Ann Arbor restaurant. Lewan was not arrested or charged, and Thursday he said he wasn't involved in the fight.

"I wasn't in any fight of any kind," he said. "I was actually breaking something up, and some guy said that I slugged him. That's not who I am off the field. That's not the kind of person I am. It might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that's not me as a person."

Lewan also denied allegations that he intimidated the alleged victim in a 2009 sexual misconduct case that resulted in the expulsion of kicker Brendan Gibbons from the University of Michigan. The alleged victim accused Lewan, Gibbons' close friend and teammate at the time, of threatening to rape her.

"That's definitely a situation between those two people," he said. "I'm not here to protect Brendan or the young lady. That's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to talk about football. I can say that I never said those things. I've said a lot of dumb things in my life, but those are not things that I've said. Like I said before, that's definitely a very touchy subject, and I would never disrespect a woman like that. I consider myself a guy who likes to hold doors, not threaten people."

Despite a sometimes rocky 2013, if Lewan convinces NFL teams those allegations are not a reason to drop him on their draft boards, he won't be waiting long to hear his name called on draft day.

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