Tarboro's Lewis remains steady as he awaits NFL Draft
BY JESSIE H. NUNERY
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tyquan Lewis has done everything possible to make himself ready for the NFL Draft.
The 2013 graduate of Tarboro High has been stretched, measured, timed, questioned and maybe even internet stalked by NFL general managers, scouts and coaches.
There is nothing else Lewis can do as the Ohio State graduate waits for his name to be called at some point during the draft, which begins Thursday in Dallas.
He's used to it now, and it has helped temper the anticipation of living out a lifelong dream.
"It's just an every day part of my life," said Lewis by phone Tuesday evening as he completed two days of meetings and interviews in Dallas. "I'm striving to be myself each and every day. It's not much to do but be yourself."
Lewis, who played on Tarboro's 2010 and 2011 state championship squads before winning a national championship with Ohio State in 2014, is expected to be selected anywhere from the second to fifth rounds of this weekend's draft.
If Lewis was brave enough to Google his name before the draft, he might lose the steadiness that has helped shape him personally and athletically. Ask one expert, and they'll say there is a possibility he is selected in Thursday's first round.
Ask another, and they might not have him selected until the fifth round.
Lewis knows that some of these "experts" often are at-home writers who never have spoken to him or seen him play in person.
"You just have to block that out," Lewis said. "I talked to several (general managers), and they say you have to go based off what you know and who you know."
Lewis finished his career with 23 1/2 sacks, 112 tackles (36.5 for loss), and he was the Big Ten's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2016. He helped lead the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title in 2017.
He wasn't Ohio State's most sought after player in a recruiting class filled with future NFL players in 2013, but he proved himself worthy. Even after a career that went better than some expected, he is proving himself over again.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end had by all reports successful showings at Ohio State’s Pro Day, the NFL Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. There is a lot to like about the prospect Lewis has become, but the draft process and reporting around it will mention as many negatives as positives.
A thick skin is needed, as is the belief that your resume stacks well against other prospects. His character has been applauded for the past five years by Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to the point where he doesn’t have to worry about general managers inquiring about off-field issues.
"I started out nowhere near I wanted to be, but as I progressed each and every day, and it became the best decision of my life," Lewis said. "There's no place like Ohio State. You can go there and exceed expectations. It's the best time of your life."
Lewis plans to return to Tarboro and watch the draft with his mother, Tyronda, and his three brothers.
He isn't planning a big party and said will get up like he does on most days and go work out. Lewis is the latest in a growing line of NFL players from Tarboro High School the past decade, which have included St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (2012 graduate) and Shaun Draughn (2006 graduate).
It is now time for Lewis to continue writing his story.
"Graduating was number one, and going to the NFL was right behind it," Lewis said. "I was just having the best time of my life. I did it and more."