May 1, 2009

Mewhort valued spring education

The Ohio State football team welcomed seven members of the class of 2009 into last week's spring game and the landscape of college football has changed with more and more high school stars taking off their final semester of high school to get a jump on their college careers.

Offensive lineman Jack Mewhort was one of four players who enrolled in January of 2009 and had the benefit of getting their feet wet in winter quarter. Three more teammates enrolled in time for the spring practice period but for players like Mewhort who had the extra couple of months the time was put to good use.

"Probably the best part if mentally because you get your playbook and then on the other side of it you can get your classes down and everything," Mewhort said. "It just helps you with the adjustment (from high school to college)."

The 6-foot-7, 290-pounder out of Toledo (Ohio) St. John's high school learned quickly about the differences on the field from high school football and big-time college football. Mewhort never had to face off against guys like Thad Gibson or Cameron Heyward in high school but by the end of spring the true freshman was seeing some good reps from the left tackle position.

Mewhort will be able to take the experience that he picked up at Ohio State to the International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship in Canton (Ohio) at the end of June. Mewhort and teammate Storm Klein were both picked to make the short trip north for the June 27th to July 5th tournament. What kind of things did Jack learn in the spring that he will be able to adapt for his own personal game?

"I learned you have to be physical and I learned that from watching guys like Justin Boren just run people over and how strong have you have to be and how nasty you have to be just to play this potion," Mewhort said. "It was just kind of cool seeing that."

Saturday's spring game was Mewhort's first opportunity to play in front of 90-plus thousand fans which he admitted was considerably more than the crowds he was playing in front of in high school. Was it hard to block out all of those distractions for the first time?

"It was crazy but once we got going I just tuned into the game and kept my mind on what I had to do," Mewhort said.

The Ohio State offensive line has been declared a weak point of the team by many experts over the past couple of seasons. Injuries have created lack of depth and other problems have plagued the line keeping it from being as good as it can be. Mewhort for one believes that the 2009 version of the O-Line could be the one to turn things around.

"I think we are going to be really good up front," Mewhort said. "Coach (Bollman) said that every day we got better and that was the point. Hopefully when the season comes we keep getting better after getting better in camp and we then we will have a standout offensive line this year."

But ultimately when it all comes down to it, spring practice is a time to learn and an opportunity to set the wheels in motion for individual workouts and habits through the summer and Mewhort already understands just how important that is and all of the benefits that were associated with cutting his high school experience short.

"I am really glad that I went through it," Mewhort said. "I really learned a lot and I got a lot closer with my teammates. I think it helped me physically just to know where I have to be so it was a great experience."


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