The book on: Jack Mewhort

Ohio State's Jack Mewhort, a three-year starter, made his mark during his final season, leading the Big Ten Conference with 24 touchdown-resulting blocks

Jack Mewhort

Offensive Tackle/Guard/Long Snapper
The Ohio State University Buckeyes
#74
6:06.0-309
Toledo, Ohio
St. John's Jesuit High School

OVERVIEW

One of his head coach's favorite players, Mewhort and the rest of the Buckeyes offensive line hold a special place for their mentor, Urban Meyer. While starting 38 of the 49 games that he has worn the Buckeyes colors on to the football field, Mewhort has always been the consummate team player. "Wherever you want me to play coach," has seemed to suit the two-year starter at the left tackle position just fine.

The fifth-year senior has done "a little bit of this, a little bit of that," as the offensive lineman would describe, it before settling into one position for the first unit as a junior. Still, if there is an injury during the game, more often than not, the coaches would simply slide Mewhort over to that spot and the team would not miss a beat.

As a redshirt freshman, Mewhort backed up at both guard spots, seeing more action later in the schedule while splitting action at right guard with Brandon Browning. The following year, he started the first five games at left guard before injuries saw him shift back to the right side for the rest of the schedule. The 2013 team captain also added another piece to his professional resume, as he can also handle deep snapping chores.

Mewhort excelled in the classroom and on the football field while attending St. John's Jesuit High School, as the Toledo product displayed the versatility that would later prove invaluable for Ohio State, as he started at all five positions along the offensive line during his prep career. Even recruiting services could not pinpoint him to one specific position when evaluating his skills.

Scout.com regarded him as the 11th-best offensive tackle in the high school ranks, according him four-star prospect status. As a senior, he received first-team All-Ohio, All-Toledo City League and All-Toledo

Blade honors. He was also named to the Super Prep Midwest Top 25 team and the Detroit Free Press Best of the Midwest squad. He concluded his career by playing in the Under Armour All-America game and was also a member of the gold-medal winning Team USA at the 2009 Junior World Championships.

Mewhort graduated from school early and after signing his national letter-of-intent back on December 28th, 2007, two years later, he would enroll at the University in January, in time to participate in 2009 spring drills. The coaching staff decided to redshirt the lineman, as they felt they still needed time to "figure it out" when it came to where they would eventually play him. During his first season lettering with the varsity, he played in every game as a reserve guard, seeing most of his action on the right side.

In 2011, Mewhort began the season at left guard, but with head coach Jim Tressel forced to resign, confusion from the remaining staff led to a 6-7 season for the Buckeyes under interim coach Luke Fickell. Midway through his sophomore season, Mewhort shifted to right guard, starting the team's final eight contests.

Urban Meyer replaced Fickell as coach for the 2012 season and the turnaround was remarkable, not only for the team, but also in the attitude of the players. Before the season commenced, Mewhort "ran afoul of the law" and had his scholarship rescinded. He worked hard to get back into the good graces of his new coach and staff, performing at such a high level during August drills that he would emerge as OSU's new starting left tackle. The team went undefeated, but because of sanctions imposed by the NCAA, they were left home while other lesser schools enjoyed the college bowl season.

Mewhort's rise to the elite blockers in the country started when Meyer named him the team captain prior to the 2013 season opener. Now the leader of this young group of Buckeyes, he knew he had to set a good example. Gone were the "bad element" types in the locker room. Inside the OSI complex, was a cohesive unit that embraced all their coach was preaching.

Meyer had already determined that Mewhort, who he calls the team's top returning leader, was to be the team captain in 2013. "It's not a dictatorship at Ohio State, and we let our players choose captains," Meyer said. "However, all those votes have to pass by my desk. So I'm going to tell you who one will be." The player he named was Jack Mewhort.

Meyer often cites the offensive line, led by Mewhort, as the leaders of the 2013 team and a major reason for the success of the undefeated 2012 squad. Mewhort's character is also evident in his "team first" mentality and willingness to change positions three times in the span of a year—from left guard to right guard to left tackle—due to depth issues on the offensive line.

Meyer's "sermon from the pulpit" speech to Mewhort when the he was in the coach's doghouse that summer back in 2012 was a distant memory in 2013, as the team reeled off 12 more victories to begin the campaign before losing the Big Ten title clash to Michigan State and the Orange Bowl to Clemson.

Mewhort made his mark during his final season, leading the Big Ten Conference with 24 touchdown-resulting blocks among his 115 knockdowns. His dominance in the trenches earned him All-American and All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, along with an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl. He also saw the Buckeyes set school season-records for most points scored, most total touchdowns, most yards rushing and finish third in school history with 45 touchdowns on the ground.

Prior to the team meeting Clemson in the 2014 Orange Bowl, Urban Meyer talked to the media gathering about his team, particularly his offensive line. Perhaps no unit on the team has meant more to Ohio State's renaissance under Meyer as the offensive line. Led by four gritty two-year starters who were now seniors getting ready for their final game, Meyer said it was the offensive line that set a standard that has helped the program et back on track.

"I love this group," Meyer said. "I have great admiration for these players, and they've earned that right. Now they've got to finish strong. I think the Buckeye nation knows exactly the way the staff feels about this group of players, especially the ones walking out the door." The coach noted that Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall weren't just four guys who helped Ohio State win 24 games in a row and rewrite basically every offensive record in the book.

They were also the kind of guys who were the heart and soul of a program — grinders, hard workers whose personality and ability to overcome hardships are exactly what Meyer wanted his program to be about. "I love who they are," Meyer said. "I love who they've become. If I was a college kid, that's who I would hang out with. They're sincere, great people that work their tails off. They love Ohio State and they love football."

When told of that quote, both Mewhort and Linsley, the two linemen about to embark on an NFL career in 2014, laughed at the thought of a college-aged Meyer hanging out in the O-line room in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, but they were also proud to have earned such distinction from their head coach. "It was an honor," Linsley said. "That's the only word that I think embodies it is honor."

"I think it just makes you so close just because I feel it on myself how I feel going through a battle, so it makes me respect those guys so much more because I know they're going through the same thing, if not even more," Mewhort said. "It's not unlike the military. The military, obviously, is the ultimate example of brotherhood and giving yourself to the next guy, but I'd say this is a far second."

"But I respect the heck out of these guys and I love them, and we're really close off the field, so it makes it easy for me to go out there and give myself to them on the field."

That chemistry and bond perhaps explains a lot — why Ohio State had historic success running the football in 2013, not to mention why school records for total points and yards were shattered.

Mewhort had one more task before he took the Ohio State colors off as a collegian one last time — impress the league decision makers with his performance at the 2014 Senior Bowl. Throughout the week-long practices in Mobile, the Buckeye looked strong during drills, constantly making it a chore for rushers to line up across from him.

The former OSUI left tackle lined up primarily at right tackle and did an excellent job sinking his lower body at the point of attack to anchor, digging his cleats in the ground and being a stubborn lineman to move from his spot. He also impressed with his ability to utilize every inch of his tall, stout frame and large wingspan to engulf and control rushers. Based off tape and his performance in Mobile this week scouts left the state of Alabama knowing that Mewhort looks every bit the part of a future starting right tackle in the NFL.

CAREER NOTES

Mewhort started the final 39 games that he played in for Ohio State, lining up at left tackle for a combined 26 contests as a junior and senior, adding five starting assignments as a left guard and eight more at right guard during his sophomore season…As a member of the first unit, he registered 45 touchdown-resulting blocks and 261 key blocks/knockdowns.


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