Quick holiday weekend three-and-out of Ohio State football news, notes and BBQ -- minus the mutton.
-- Jack Mewhort is prepared to fill a vastly different role this fall. Oh, and he's moving from guard to left tackle. The St. John's graduate said the biggest adjustment this off-season has not been shifting to the edge but embracing an increased leadership role. After deferring last season to entrenched senior starters Mike Adams, Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts, the redshirt junior is now THE MAN on the offensive line.
"Being a leader, sometimes you've got to get on guys who are your friends," Mewhort said. "You've got to get a little tough on them. That's hard sometimes, but I embrace it. I want to keep growing as a leader. I know it's going to help me in life."
-- Johnathan Hankins could be among the top picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. ESPN's Mel Kiper pegs the oversized junior defensive tackle 11th on his latest Big Board while CBSSports.com's draft analysts project Hankins among the top five selections. But from the where-have-we-heard-this-before category, Hankins insists he plans to return in 2013. Hankins said he came to Ohio State to win a national title -- a goal, of course, that is unrealizable this fall with the Buckeyes' bowl ban.
"Well, if I happen to leave after my junior year, it's because I'm projected to go high," he said. "If I'm first overall, the top pick, then I'll probably go. But if not, I'm going to stay with my teammates and enjoy my life at Ohio State."
We'll see. Expect Hankins, who has shed 10 pounds under new coach Urban Meyer after playing last year at 330, to have another big season -- and a bigger decision to make this off-season. For now, the big man is enjoying his sleeker new frame.
"I think I'm going to be able to drop back in coverage a little bit more if coach will let me," Hankins said with a smile.
-- Among the personal goals for senior tight end Jake Stoneburner this fall: "I'd like to have more than 14 catches," he said, laughing. "That's a start."
Nobody is more giddy than Stoneburner about the reintroduction of the tight end in Columbus. If he stays healthy, Stoneburner should surpass Ben Hartsock -- 33 catches in 2003 -- as the Buckeyes' most prolific tight end of the last decade. Meyer and first-year offensive coordinator Tom Herman have proven to view the position as more than a glorified tackle. Under Meyer at Florida, for instance, Aaron Hernandez caught 102 passes over his final two seasons. And in 2008, Herman’s tight end at Rice, James Casey, pulled in 111 catches.
Meyer recruited Stoneburner while at Florida, and the Dublin native stirred at the prospect of playing in a spread offense.
“I loved him,” Stoneburner said. “I knew they how used the tight end at Florida. it was very appealing. I just didn't want to leave Ohio.”
In Stoneburner’s eyes, he now has the best of both worlds.
“I say it every year: I've been waiting for [a big season],” he said. “But with coach Meyer’s track record and coach Herman’s track record, they incorporate every guy in the offense, especially tight ends. To say I’m excited is an understatement.”