Two future first-round draft picks squared off when Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan faced South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at the 2013 Outback Bowl. But Lewan wants it known that he’s not to blame for the most famous play from that game, Clowney’s brutal hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith.
Lewan said at the Scouting Combine that Clowney was the best player he ever played against, but that members of the media who talk about that one play misunderstand what happened. According to Lewan, the play called for he and the guard to double team the linebacker, and Clowney wasn’t Lewan’s responsibility.
“You can only control what you can control and whatever ESPN or NFL Network wants to put on their air is up to them,” Lewan said. “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.”
For people who want a fuller picture, there are videos that show dozens of plays on which Lewan blocked Clowney. Sometimes when they matched up Lewan got the better of the battle, and other times Clowney did. But there was no battle to be had on Clowney’s hit on Smith. That play, Clowney went untouched.