COLUMBUS — Jack Mewhort committed to Ohio State within a week of receiving a scholarship offer after his junior season at St. John's Jesuit, then dove into summer school so he could enroll at OSU two quarters early.
"The only thing that Jack ever wanted to do was play football at Ohio State," said his father, Don.
Now, as Mewhort serves a temporary suspension connected to his misdemeanor arrest earlier this month, that resolve has only strengthened.
"It's like the old saying, ‘You never know how much you miss something until it's taken away from you,'" Don Mewhort said. "That applies here for Jack."
Mewhort, a junior left tackle, and Jake Stoneburner, a senior tight end, are back working out at the Buckeyes' facilities and on pace to be reinstated later this summer after pleading guilty Friday to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.
Coach Urban Meyer said the players are off scholarship and barred from team activities through the end of the summer session. He expects Mewhort and Stoneburner to return to the team "in good standing" weeks before the Buckeyes' season-opener against Miami University.
Long term, the pair's arrest in Shawnee Hills, Ohio, for momentarily dashing off after police allegedly spotted them and a third man urinating on the side of a building will likely have little impact.
For two players who live for OSU football, their time in the crosshairs for an off-the-field story was devastating. Mewhort and Stoneburner are widely regarded as two of the Buckeyes' foremost leaders, and by all accounts, both take the role seriously.
If OSU supporters widely viewed the June 2 incident as trivial, it was not treated as such by the players.
Mewhort asked his father, "Are the fans going to hate me?" He felt he let down his teammates, coaches, and family, including his great-grandmother.
"She's a pretty tough lady," Don Mewhort said. "Everybody think it's no big deal, but when your 97-year-old great-grandmother wants to know what's going on, it's tough."
"I don't think anybody felt worse than Jack," St. John's coach Doug Pearson said. "He just felt terrible."
Pearson felt his pain. He knew Mewhort, who spent last week training at St. John's before beginning summer classes at OSU Monday, as a low-key honor-roll student and relentless worker.
"There wasn't a person at St. John's that would ever say a bad word about Jack," Pearson said. "A student, faculty member, nobody. Everybody liked Jack. He was kind of the big man on campus here and never took advantage of that. He's a great kid."
On Twitter, former Buckeyes center Michael Brewster called Mewhort and Stoneburner "some of the best dudes I know."
"Got their backs through thick and thin," Brewster said. "Minor stuff."
Mewhort and Stoneburner, who were not available for comment, considered fighting to get the charges dropped entirely. A drawn-out courtroom battle was off the table. The players wanted back.
"The most important thing for Jack was to be back with his teammates," said Don Mewhort, who noted his family supports Meyer and his staff.
"He'd pretty much do anything to get back with the team."
Contact David Briggs at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.
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