NCAA

Michigan's Lewan in middle on stay-or-go decision

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Michigan's Lewan in middle on stay-or-go decision

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan has put himself in a position to make a lot of money this spring.

Lewan isn't sure if he's ready to cash in on his production and potential just yet.

The Associated Press All-America first-team selection is undecided about whether to stay for his senior season, and fifth year in college, or to enter the NFL draft.

``I'm leaning right in the middle,'' Lewan said in a telephone interview with the AP on Tuesday. ``To potentially be a top-five or top-10 pick is tough to pass up, but there's nothing like being in college because it's a great opportunity you only get once. There are pros and cons either way and I'll weigh them all after the bowl season.

``Right now, I'm focused on helping the University of Michigan win the Outback Bowl.''

That won't be easy.

Lewan will be going against South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, another AP first-team selection, in an intriguing matchup on New Year's Day when the 19th-ranked Wolverines (8-4) play the 11th-ranked Gamecocks (10-2).

``I know Taylor has a lot of respect for Clowney, and he's looking forward to facing him,'' Wolverines offensive line coach Darrell Funk said.

Michigan gave up a Big Ten-low 15 sacks this season thanks in large part to Lewan, its 6-foot-8, 309-pound left tackle.

Clowney - a 6-6, 256-pound sophomore - had 13 1/2 sacks this year.

``He's very explosive player who plays every play to the whistle and never takes a snap off,'' Lewan said. ``It's a great opportunity to see where I'm at and where he's at and I'm excited about it.

``But it's not about me or him, it's about the University of Michigan playing South Carolina at the Outback Bowl.''

After the game, Lewan said he plans to spend several days in Louisiana with his girlfriend before returning to Ann Arbor in time to take classes on Jan. 8 - a week before he would have to declare for the draft.

``My coaches and teammates will know what I'm going to do first,'' he said. ``Then, we'll let everyone else know.''

Lewan, who is from Arizona, didn't think he could even play past high school.

``My dad told me, `You're going to have an opportunity to play college football,' after my junior year and I thought there was no way,'' he recalled. ``I didn't play on the offensive line until my senior year. I was awful as a nose tackle my freshman, sophomore and junior years. I played cornerback and quarterback in third and fourth grade, then didn't play from fifth through eighth grade because I hated contact.''

Now, players hate to get hit by Lewan.

He pushes piles when Michigan runs and keeps linemen and linebackers off quarterbacks Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson when they drop back to pass, helping the team average 385 yards of offense this season, which included losing to the top three teams in the AP poll.

Former Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez recruited Lewan out of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., and redshirted him as a freshman during the 2009 season. Lewan became a starter the next season and will make his make his 28th straight start at left tackle when Michigan plays South Carolina in Tampa, Fla.

Gil Brand, an NFL draft consultant and former Dallas Cowboys general manager, said if Lewan was his son, he'd tell him to come back for another season of college football.

``I think historically, offensive linemen that stay in school seem much better in the NFL,'' Brandt said. ``Taylor Lewan is a good player that is good enough to come out, but my recommendation to him would be to stay in school to get as much strength and experience as he can get before playing in the NFL.''

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter:http://twitter.com/larrylage

UVA vs. Georgia Tech How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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UVA vs. Georgia Tech How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Virginia Cavaliers football team is coming off a 21-pt victory last week and has won four of their last five games, yet is an underdog on the road against Georgia Tech.

UVA, at 4-2 (7-3 overall), is trying to stay alive in the ACC Coastal, led by the Pitt Panthers entering Saturday's action. Georgia Tech is also coming into the game on a hot streak, having won five of its last six matchups.

The Yellow Jackets are two games behind Pitt in the loss column, sitting at 4-3 in ACC play, and will finish up their regular season next week at 5th-ranked Georgia. UVA will wrap up on the road as well, facing in-state rival Virginia Tech.

Georgia Tech is favored over UVA by 4.5 points. Here's how to watch.

UVA CAVALIERS vs. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS: HOW TO WATCH

What: University of Virginia Cavaliers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, located in Atlanta, GA.

When: Saturday, November 17 at 3:30 p.m. EST

TV Channel: The Virginia Cavaliers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

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Former Wizard Jared Dudley: Time for a Wizards shake-up

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Former Wizard Jared Dudley: Time for a Wizards shake-up

Jared Dudley spent one season with the Washington Wizards. The core pieces on the current roster were there during that 2015-16 campaign. Based on that prior experience and a first-hand look Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets forward offered a candid assessment of the 5-10 squad. 

"I’m seeing a team that has been together too long,” Dudley told NBC Sports Washington following the Wizards’ 115-104 home loss. “They haven’t made progress, so it’s time to change things over there.”

John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter were teammates of Dudley for a full season. Markieff Morris joined the roster at the 2016 trade deadline. Washington failed to make the playoffs that season, but qualified in each of the next two and has reached the postseason in four of the five last years. 

The Wizards did not advance beyond the second round during any of those postseason appearances and lost in the first round last season after a 43-39 regular season. Following a 2-9 start, Washington won three in a row before falling to a scrappy Nets team that lost leading scorer Caris Levert earlier in the week to a gruesome ankle injury.

Dudley started and played 22 minutes in Brooklyn's win. The 12-year veteran's opinion on Washington included suggestions like extended use of a small-ball lineup. 

“I think (they have) good players, but sometimes, good players need different situations. For them, I think that it’s tough the way the league is changing. They play two bigs,” Dudley said about the combination of power forward Markieff Morris and center Dwight Howard. “In this day in age, Otto needs to play more four because he’s tall enough, more spacing.”

Facing a Brooklyn defense that leads the league in opponent mid-range shots, Washington often settled for such looks. The Wizards attempted a season-low 18 three-point attempts. 

The NBA rumor mill continually attempts to plot a new course for the Wizards. New York Times NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves tried to “engage” Washington in trade talks for Jimmy Butler before shipping the All-Star guard to Philadelphia. “But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start,” Stein reported earlier this week. “They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts.”

Dudley sees the logic of moving at least one of those three players.

“I think they’ve had enough time, but they really haven’t (broken) through,” Dudley said. “I can see by the All-Star break or summer time one of these pieces moving. It’s going to be good for them. If it’s John, or Otto or Brad, one of them three, I think their next move is going to be good for both teams."