MOBILE, Ala. — When Raekwon McMillan went down for the season with a knee injury on the first play of his NFL career, it didn’t take long for his former Ohio State teammates to learn about it.
At this week’s Senior Bowl media day, Buckeyes defensive line prospects Jalyn Holmes and Tyquan Lewis initiated a South Florida reporter in a lengthy conversation about McMillan, the Dolphins’ second-round pick in 2017.
It is clear McMillan was very popular with his teammates. It’s also clear they’ve all stayed in touch.
“We’re all on the same group chat,” said Holmes, who is 6-foot-5, 279 pounds. “It’s disappointing. But I feel Raekwon is the type of guy that has embraced what he went through. And make it into a positive. And next year man he’s going to be 10 times ready for it.”
Holmes and Lewis, who is 6-foot-3, 276 pounds, have kept up with McMillan all season.
“He’s doing well,” Holmes said. “He’s doing real well. He’s been positive. He didn’t go down. He didn’t beat himself up. He’s been working hard to get back on that field. He’s going to come back better than ever.”
Before the injury, the Dolphins intended to play McMillan at middle linebacker, where he would call the plays.
McMillan was to be handed the responsibility at the age of 21, which did not surprise his former teammates.
“No, that doesn’t surprise me at all,” Holmes said.
“He’s that type of dude,” Lewis added.
Holmes explained: “He’s a football geek. I mean, we all are. A lot of us at Ohio State are forced to do that. He called out the defense at Ohio State. Him doing that at the Miami Dolphins that doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Both Holmes and Lewis should be on Miami’s radar due to their size, quickness and versatility. Both players can play defensive end and defensive tackle and rush the passer and play the run.
“I feel like I would bring to the Miami Dolphins versatility, being a great teammate, being a great person,” Holmes said. “Being very coachable. I feel like when you can do those things, it opens the door for a lot of other things. So the coaches have no restrictions on what they want to do. Now they can be as creative as possible as they can to affect the game.”
Lewis is among the top five sackers in Ohio State history. He said that he is sometimes compared to Justin Houston, the former Georgia linebacker who has become of the NFL’s top pass-rushers with the Chiefs.
“Always go for the ball,” Lewis said. “I don’t go for the sack. I go for the ball. I’m always trying to knock the ball out of the quarterback’s hands. I usually just every day I work on something to try to get better.”
Lewis and Holmes were part of such an incredibly deep Ohio State defensive front, their coaches sometimes used five-man fronts.
“We called it ‘Rush Man,'” Lewis said.
Lewis said his teammate Holmes is often compared to former Florida Gator Carlos Dunlap. Both players know that what they show in 1-on-1 drills this week is critically important to their draft statuses.
Lewis could be drafted as high as the second round, while Holmes is likely to be available in the mid-rounds.
VIDEO: Jalyn Holmes highlights
VIDEO: Tyquan Lewis highlights
“I want to win the 1-on-1’s, show fundamentals, show great technique,” Holmes said.
“Jalyn and I compete all the time in practice,” Lewis said. “It’s almost as if it’s another (Ohio State) practice. Except this time, it’s practice to get paid.”