Jack Mewhort, a St. John's Jesuit grad, will shift from guard to left tackle this season.
COLUMBUS -- Jack Mewhort had everything going for him by the end of spring, regarded as one of the Ohio State football team's bedrock leaders and an anchor of the offensive line at left tackle.
Nothing has changed.
If anything, the former St. John's Jesuit graduate gained respect from his response to an off-the-field detour.
Mewhort and senior receiver Jake Stoneburner were taken off scholarship for the summer academic session after pleading guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in June.
New coach Urban Meyer recently called the incident a "stupid" mistake and teammates widely considered it trivial. Police in Shawnee Hills, Ohio, charged the pair for momentarily dashing off after they allegedly spotted the players and a third man urinating on the side of a building.
Mewhort, however, returned for the start of fall camp this month with an added resolve.
The fourth-year junior led OSU onto the field for the team's first open practice earlier this month, and it appears he has rarely stopped since. Junior center Corey Linsley said Mewhort "worked his butt off this camp."
"Jack took that to heart," junior center Corey Linsley said Monday. "All of us looked at it like he made a mistake, no big deal. We all forgave him. He paid his dues in the weight room. But Jack felt like there was an added chip on his shoulder."
An Ohio State spokesman said Mewhort and Stoneburner will not be available to speak with reporters until during the season, which opens Saturday against Miami (Ohio) at Ohio Stadium.
Others say he is embracing his role as a more vocal leader of a line in transition. The Buckeyes are replacing three starters from a front that allowed more sacks last season -- 46 -- than any Big Ten team in four seasons.
Meyer expressed concern early. Only left guard Andrew Norwell is manning the same position as last year. Mewhort, who started at guard last season, is adjusting to life on the left edge. Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall are first-year starters at center and right guard, respectively. And right tackle remains in flux. Senior Reid Fragel, a tight end his first three seasons, edged freshman Taylor Decker to start Saturday, but coaches said Decker will play.
Meyer, however, has called the line the most improved unit on the team, with the 6-foot-6, 312-pound Mewhort as the linchpin.
"I love Jack, and we do as a coaching staff," offensive line coach Ed Warinner said. "He's as good a kid as you can have. He's worked hard. He's a leader of this team. His transgression earlier in the summer, he's moved on, our team's moved on.
"Unless you guys bring it up, I don't want to say it's forgotten, but it's the last thing on my mind in training camp. He's our left tackle, he's the best left tackle we have in this program and he's done a heck of a job for us. We're counting on him to do great things. He's a super kid. Everybody in this program just loves him."
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