FanPost

The History of Jack Mewhort


Another article, courtesy of IndyStar. This one written by Phil Richards, a friend to all Colts fans.

Colts top draftee Jack Mewhort comes from long line of stellar athletes

Jack Mewhort's early athletic trajectory did nothing to suggest he would become a man mountain and the Indianapolis Colts' second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Mewhort stood 5-11 and weighed 190 pounds as a freshman at Toledo St. John's High School. He was a pudgy back-up center on the freshman team. He wasn't playing for his football future. It would be more accurate to say he was playing for his dad.

"I basically made him play sports," Don Mewhort III said. "He wasn't in very good shape growing up. He was a kid who needed more exercise."

One year later, Jack was 6-3, 270 pounds and the starting center on the varsity team. His growth was so explosive it stressed his growth plates and made his ankles ache.

It also affected his heart: "I fell in love with football," said Mewhort, who has given his passion full expression.

Said St. John's coach Doug Pearson: "Weight room, extra drill work, staying after practice, flipping tires, extra running, he just worked. In the summer, when everybody took off after workouts to get something to eat or go swimming, he stayed to do extra."

Said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, winner of two national championships at Florida and 24-2 in two years with the Buckeyes: "One of the top five players I have ever been around. That's not just because he's a great player but everything he brought to our program.

"He's the guy who's always first in line. He's the guy with a great relationship with every coach on our staff. He's the complete teammate. I mean he'd do anything for his teammates. Wait 'til you get to know this guy. You only come across a few of these, and I'm telling you, he's a real one."

The Colts recognize all those things. But they drafted Mewhort because they believe he can play. They believe he can play almost anywhere on the offensive line and they believe he can play for a long time. That they have installed him in the locker room cubicle next to quarterback Andrew Luck's shouts all that:

You are important. You will be his protector. Absorb everything. Do it quickly.

Fathers out front

Don Mewhort was an athlete, too. So was his father, and his father's father.

Don Sr. played basketball at Ohio Wesleyan in the 1930s. He's a member of the school's hall of fame and he didn't excel at basketball alone: Don Sr. stroked five hits to help beat the Ohio State baseball team in a 1934 game.

Don II was a third-team all-state basketball player at Toledo DeVilbiss. Forgive him for not making the first team, whose members included Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek, both of whom are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Don II played at Duke during the early 1960s.

Don III was a banger who led Wittenberg (Ohio) in rebounding as a sophomore and junior and as a senior in 1987 helped the Tigers to a third-place finish in the NCAA Division III national tournament.

Former Ohio State Buckeyes offensive linesman Jack Mewhort (74).(Photo: Steve Mitchell / USA TODAY Sports)

The Mewhorts have something else in common: All were senior captains. Jack earned the same distinction, first at St. John's, then at Ohio State, where Meyer made sure.

"We elect captains by player vote here," the Buckeyes coach said. "It's not a dictatorship. However, Jack Mewhort was going to be a captain. That's how our staff and myself and our strength coach felt about the guy."

So Meyer appointed Mewhort co-captain. His teammates' vote confirmed him

It's the Mewhort way. Sons are their fathers' copybooks.

"Over the years I just watched my dad, his work ethic and the way he operated and approached his business (Midland Title & Escrow, of which Don III is owner and president) and what he did every day," Jack said. "It was kind of unspoken: Do it the right way."

On guard, at center

Rookie offensive lineman Jack Mewhort,#75, during the Indianapolis Colts rookie mini camp Friday afternoon at the Colts complex on 56th Street.(Photo: Matt Kryger / The Star)

Rivals ranked Mewhort the nation's No. 2 prep center prospect when he signed with Ohio State in 2009. He played guard in 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2010 and started 13 games at the position in 2011. When Meyer arrived in 2012, he wanted the team's best offensive lineman at its most crucial position.

Mewhort started his final 26 games at left tackle, and the Buckeyes won the first 24, a school record. Mewhort was durable. He was nasty. He was a sledgehammer in an attack that averaged a school-record 6.8 yards per rush last fall.

Mewhort bench-pressed 225 pounds 28 times at the NFL Scouting Combine. Only three of the nine offensive linemen drafted before him managed more: Greg Robinson, the St. Louis Ram's pick at No. 2 overall, had 32 repetitions. Taylor Lewan, taken 11th by Tennessee, and Zack Martin, a Chatard High School and Notre Dame graduate who went 16th to Dallas, both managed 29.

Mewhort has the strength and technical mastery to play tackle in the NFL but not the elite athleticism ideal to playing in space, and he admitted it.

"I'm not the greatest on the edge in protection, so being in there at guard gives me, you know, I'm between two guys. It makes it a little bit easier," said Mewhort, who graduated from high school a semester early and college in January. "I think at the end of the day if they need me to plug in and play tackle I could eventually do it."

The Colts love Mewhort's flexibility. They plugged him in at center and left guard Friday, the first day of rookie minicamp, and there, for now, he will remain.

Rookie offensive lineman Jack Mewhort,#75, during the Indianapolis Colts rookie mini camp Friday afternoon at the Colts complex on 56th Street.(Photo: Matt Kryger / The Star)

"You want him to get comfortable," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Saturday. "You don't want to move him so much he's not growing mentally and physically as a football player."

The Colts have needs at guard and center. At guard, Donald Thomas is coming back from the biceps and quadriceps tendon tears that ended his 2013 season and Hugh Thornton hopes to improve on a rocky rookie year. Second-year man Khaled Holmes is the frontrunner at center; he played a total of 12 snaps as a rookie.

Mewhort could win either position. Regardless, the Colts typically go with only seven offensive linemen on their 46-man game-day roster. Versatility like Mewhort's isn't a luxury. It's an imperative.

Thus his pick, 59th overall, and the Colts' first because they traded their No. 1 selection to Cleveland last fall for running back Trent Richardson.

The Colts know Mewhort will work. They know he can lead. They expect him to play somewhere, probably soon.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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