Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Tyquan Lewis has goals bigger than a Big Ten championship or national championship. He looks around him and unlimited potential on defense, especially with one of the deepest defensive lines in college football.
“We just want to be remembered as the best ever,” Lewis said during Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “We compete to be the best ever. Every day we are presented with new challenges. We’re always looking to evolve our skill set and get better. It’s not that we demand more attention. If that was the case, we’d probably be acting like nut-jobs on the street or be all over social media. Instead, we’re just going to work. Let’s show the world what we can do.”
Lewis, a fifth-year senior from Tarboro, N.C., elected to return to the Buckeyes for the 2017 season rather than entering the NFL Draft. That wasn’t an easy decision. Thirty of his teammates have heard their name called in the draft in the last four seasons.
“It was a tough decision because if you don’t know my family background is not the best,” Lewis said. “It’s a life-changing opportunity. It was a difficult time, a difficult moment. I definitely had to think about it, talk it over several times, go through the process in my head a million times.”
Lewis will take his chances in 2018. All his focus is on his last season in Columbus now. He graduated in December with a degree in sociology and said he doesn’t have any serious classes this fall. He returned because has “unfinished business” in college football.
“It would have been huge (to go to the NFL),” he said. “It would have been tremendous. I definitely would have been better paid than almost anyone else in my family. But hey, I’m playing for a bigger purpose now.”
Lewis has started all 13 games in each of the past two seasons. He ranks fourth in Ohio State history with 16½ sacks. He needs seven more to enter the top five. If he records 11 sacks, he would end his career ranked second behind Mike Vrabel (36, 1993-96).
Ohio State’s defensive line rotation may limit the chances for Lewis to rack up the sack numbers. With Lewis, Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, Nick Bosa, Tracy Sprinkle, Dre’mont Jones, Robert Landers and Michael Hill, the Buckeyes can spread the playing time. Lewis doesn’t consider the non-starters backups.
“They’re just another asset to the starting lineup,” Lewis said. “That’s why they’re always featured. The line is deep. It’s always fresh. It’s a fresh rotation. Nobody’s afraid of anything. It’s a more experienced, well-seasoned group that can definitely do things and pursue goals and objectives that we set throughout the year.”
Notes: Ohio State held its fourth preseason practice Tuesday. It has Wednesday off and then will hold its first practice in pads Thursday. The team moves into its home for fall camp, Hyatt Place, south of campus, on Sunday. … Coach Urban Meyer said the Buckeyes will practice 28 times before the season opener Aug. 31 against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind. He worries about the team getting bored in camp. “We’re very conscientious,” Meyer said Monday. “My staff, there is nothing worse than a stale, tired group. So I’m watching that.”
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