You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 10:35 a.m.

Michigan football stars Taylor Lewan, Jordan Kovacs land on preseason award watch lists

By Kyle Meinke

Another day, another Michigan football player on a national award watch list.

Actually, this time, it's two.

Junior left tackle Taylor Lewan has landed on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's best tackle, guard or center, and senior safety Jordan Kovacs made the list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is presented to the nation's best defender.

The only Michigan player to win either award is Charles Woodson, who was awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy during his Heisman Trophy season in 1997.

Thumbnail image for TAYLOR-LEWAN.jpg

Taylor Lewan

Lewan is considered one of the best tackles in the country, now that the 6-foot-8, 302-pounder is entering his third season as a starter. Since redshirting as a true freshman, he has started 22 of a possible 26 games, including all 13 last year.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., native was named All-Big Ten second team by the coaches and honorable mention by the media after last season, and already has drawn some preseason All-American nods for next year, including making's first team.

Related: Denard Robinson, Fitz Toussaint make Maxwell Award watch list | Brendan Gibbons named to Lou Groza list

Lewan has dominated for most of his two seasons at Michigan, and has begun to draw some comparisons to former Michigan All-American left tackle Jake Long, who was selected with the first overall pick of the 2008 draft.

The Wolverines have had only one player (Brandon Graham) chosen in the first round since, although draft experts already are calling Lewan a solid first-rounder next year if he elects to forgo his final year at Michigan.

That's bound to be a developing storyline this season if Lewan continues to progress.

"They've been raving about him for a couple years down there," Kiper said of Lewan. "You think about what Jake Long did coming out of that program, could (Lewan) be the next Jake Long?


While Lewan fits the build of an elite left tackle, Kovacs' story is a little more unlikely. His only offer to play football coming out of Clay High School in Ohio was as a preferred walk-on at Toledo.

Thumbnail image for JORDAN-KOVACS.JPG

Jordan Kovacs

He chose to attend Michigan -- without even as a preferred walk-on spot secured -- and tried to join the team via a student body tryout. He didn't make it after his first audition due to an injured knee, but he tried out again in 2009 and made the team.

Two weeks into his first season, an injury forced Kovacs onto the field -- and he's been in the lineup every game but one since.

Kovacs has started 33 career games, which trails only senior defensive end Craig Roh among starters. He's recorded 266 career tackles, including 21 for loss. He's forced five fumbles and recovered two others.

He was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the media the past two seasons, and was an academic All-Big Ten selection last year.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

Lewan has been listed as 302lbs the last two years, but I doubt that's his playing weight now...he has beefed up. Kovacs is an amazing story, I hope he has a healthy, fantastic year!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6 p.m.

KOVACS shows you that hard work and determination can pay huge dividends not only on the football field, but in life!! KOVACS will be a repeat defender!! GO BLUE!!!