Laremy Tunsil and Will Levis: What are the Similarities?


Alexis Leduc, writer

With the 2023 NFL drafts just finishing, it’s times like these that people like me reminisce about past drafts and the Will Levis mayo-coffee video made me remember another video that unearthed during draft nights, a video about another football athlete who was dropped from the first round drafts.

In the 2016 NFL draft, Laremy Tunsil was famed to be the 1st overall draft pick. This was a fact, until the night of the draft, when on his own twitter, a video of him was released of him indulging in illegal (in some states, yet legal in others) drug use, whilst wearing a gas mask. This made him end up in the 13th overall pick. Sure, it isn’t too far of a downgrade, but that is still a downgrade from being on top of everyone else. He ended up being drafted by the Texans, which is where he is to this day. But that was just a loose summary of what happened. How about a deeper dive?

Imagine you’re Laremy Tunsil in April of 2016. The NFL drafts are coming up, and you’re the number one prospect for the draft. Everyone thinks you will be, including the NFL officials. You’re high on life at this point, and nothing can bring you down. So you decide to let loose and you end up taking a video of yourself doing drugs while wearing a full face gas mask. You keep it on your phone for a little bit of time, but on the first night of the NFL drafts, your Twitter is hacked. You think it will be fine, since you don’t remember about the video. But suddenly, you get a bombardment of tweets at you, regarding the newly tweeted video. There’s nothing you can do as the image of you declines more and more. To top it off, the drafts are now on. 

It’s the first overall draft pick, and the Rams are up to pick. The suspense is felt by you, your family, and your friends. Who was the first overall pick: QB Jared Goff. You try to hope that you won’t fall too far from the first. So you keep on watching. Second overall: Carson Wentz. Third: Joey Bosa. Fourth: Ezekiel Elliot. This keeps on going for 9 more picks. Finally, it’s the Miami Dolphins turn to pick. And at last, you’re drafted 13th overall pick. Of course, it is still in the first round; it’s still a big downgrade from being mock drafted first overall. 

Now that the draft is over, you’re a rookie in the NFL with a bad reputation. It’s a struggle at the start, and it doesn’t get much better as he gets traded in his late rookie years, to the Houston Texans. In 2019. However, Laremy begins to start playing extremely well. He excels more and more, and starts getting paid more and more. Now as of today, he only really has a base salary of 2 million (but he gets paid more than that due to other factors of his contract), and next season, he will be paid a base salary of a whopping 18 million. His contract is guaranteed to end up paying him somewhere around $50 million, which is up there with the most paid NFL players like Deshaun Watson of the Los Angeles Rams. He is also ranked well in the best defensive players in the NFL. Needless to say, redemption was met for Laremy. 

And now, in the 2023 NFL Draft, Kentucky State Quarterback, William Donovan Levis was destined to be in the top 10 overall picks. But then… a video of Levis was unearthed on draft night. The video was about Levis admitting his weird habit of putting large amounts of mayonnaise into his coffee instead of other add-ons such as cream, sugar, or milk. On draft day, after this video became popular, Levis was drafted way below what he was originally expected to be. He fell from the top 5 overall picks in the first round, all the way to the 33rd overall pick in the 2nd round. Albeit its not due to the mayo coffee that he was dropped down so low (although I wouldn’t trust someone who puts mayo in their coffee to run my team’s offense either, would you?), but a very recent knee injury, even though it is presently healing, could cause problems down the line and most teams just aren’t willing to take that chance at the moment. Luckily for him, he still was drafted, similar to Tunsil, and will now be playing for the Tennessee Titans.

With Tunsil having that unfortunate story happen to him, and Levis having a similar experience, perhaps this will be an ongoing curse where a video of a top 5 prospect will be leaked of them doing something odd or illegal, and they will be drafted far lower than expected, and can hinder their career. And maybe Will Levis will keep on following in the footsteps of Laremy Tunsil, and become one of the most paid players later in his career…