One of the top offensive tackles for May's NFL Draft could see his draft stock plummet with news yesterday that former Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault or assault and battery, according to the Ann Arbor News. The charges relate back to an incident in December, in which two Ohio State fans allege they were assaulted after the Ohio State at Michigan football game.
Lewan denies the charges, claiming he was attempting to break up a fight. One of the Ohio State fans say Lewan punched him. Lewan is the only person charged in the incident.
No one was arrested at the time of the December 1 incident, but the investigation remained open until earlier this month. Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie pushed the charges on Wednesday, with Lewan receiving a notice to appear in court and provide fingerprints on Thursday.
Under Michigan law, an aggravated assault conviction can lead to up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Assault and battery can lead to 93 days in jail or a fine up to $500.
"I wasn't in any fight of any kind," Lewan said at a press conference before Michigan's bowl game against Kansas State. "I was actually breaking something up and some guy said that I slugged him. But that's not who I am off the field, that's not the kind of person I am. I might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that's not who I am as a person."
Lewan was a two-time All American at Michigan, appearing in 50 games, with 48 starts, all at left tackle. He plays the same position and wears the same number as former Michigan great Jake Long, who the Miami Dolphins selected with the first overall pick in 2008. While he may not be at the same level as Long, Lewan has been expected to go early in the NFL Draft's first round, potentially as the second or third tackle selected, prior to this news. He said he addressed it during interviews with teams at the Scouting Combine, and denied any wrong doing, but it will be interesting to see if the charges change where teams have him on their draft board.