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Published: Sunday, 6/28/2009

Ohio State's Mewhort dons red, white, blue

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Mewhort Mewhort
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Jack Mewhort spent the majority of this year in Columbus attending Ohio State University.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder, enrolled early to get acclimated with juggling college life and being a member of the Buckeyes football program.

With two quarters completed the St. John's Jesuit graduate still

hasn't quite slowed down to relax over summer break.

Mewhort is participating in the inaugural International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship involving teams representing eight countries across the globe. He's one of 45 players age 19-and-under on the U.S. team.

"It's exciting and it's an honor to be able to represent your country in this tournament," Mewhort said in a telephone interview.

Ohio State-bound Storm Klein (6-2, 225, LB), of Newark, is also on the U.S. roster, as well as University of Toledo-bound Robert Bell (6-0, 222, LB), of East Grand Rapids, Mich., and Bowling Green State University-bound Jordon Roussos (6-4, 220, DE), of Carnegie, Pa.

Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand, and the U.S. make up the teams involved in the football tournament at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

The tournament includes 12 games with each team playing three games over eight days.

West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade coach Ed Croson, who is serving as the U.S. offensive line coach, agreed pacing the players will be essential since football is a sport in which only one game is typically played during a week.

"We're going to have to use the entire 45-man roster," said Croson, who has implemented a less-than-normal amount of blocking schemes for the offensive linemen over roughly two weeks of preparing for the competition.

Croson admits he's been impressed by the Toledo native, who was a standout performer during his high school days in a Titans uniform.

"Jack Mewhort is a really good player," he said. "He's really big, and he's also pretty funny."

Mewhort, who has experience playing all the line positions, said this is an opportunity for the group of U.S. players to win the first-ever international football championship. They've approached workouts with a serious mind-set as if it was the start of fall conditioning two-a-days.

"We want to go out and win it," Mewhort said. "We want to win the gold medal."

Croson said they're looking at this tournament with more seriousness than perhaps coaches and players would in traditional all-star games involving recent high school graduates because U.S. pride is on the line.

"This is not an all-star game, this is a tournament," Croson said.

Cleveland St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle serves as head coach for the U.S. squad, which has a coaching staff of 10 coaches from nine states. The group accounts for a total of 155 seasons of high school head coaching experience, including 33 state championships.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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