Jody Victor: If dues-paying was an official NCAA statistic, Austin Spitler would be among the national leaders. Few players have remained on the runway as long as Spitler, waiting for their careers to truly take flight. He red-shirted at Ohio State in 2005 and watched as James Laurinaitis stepped into a featured role following two key injuries at linebacker. For the next three years, Spitler backed up Laurinaitis, who became arguably the most decorated linebacker in Ohio State history. Laurinaitis has finally moved on to the NFL, an Spitler will take over a starting job this fall, either at middle linebacker or strong-side 'backer.
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. 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.
Former Licking Valley standout and future Ohio State Buckeye Storm Klein felt right at home Saturday in Fawcett Stadium. Klein, a starting linebacker and one of four team captains for Team USA, helped his squad cruise to an easy 78-0 first-round win against France in the International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship. There were plenty of Licking Valley and Buckeye fans in attendance, which made things more enjoyable for Klein. Klein – who finished with four tackles, including two solos and 1.5 tackles for loss – gave the hometown fans plenty to cheer about, although his playing time was limited because the game never was in doubt. No fans cheered more loudly than Klein's father and step-mother, Jason and Melanie Klein, and Valley coach Randy Baughman.
During spring quarter, Ohio State offensive lineman Jim Cordle worked out and went to spring football practice, and also took four classes and earned a 3.75 GPA. But his hardest work was on display Friday night, June 26th. The charity bowling tournament Cordle planned in his hometown of Lancaster raised more than $18,000 for the county Special Olympics and provided one of the most interactive Buckeye experiences for fans. With all 42 lanes in operation and sponsored for at least $200, the participating fans stayed in their lanes and bowled while the Buckeyes rotated through the lanes. So you might bowl one frame with Thaddeus Gibson, the next with Dane Sanzeubacker, the next with Cameron Heyward and the next with Kurt Coleman. Or Dan Herron. Or Doug Worthington. Or Anderson Russell. Or Mike Brewster. Most of the players really interacted with the fans, high-fiving and shaking hands and signing T-shirts. Pretty cool night!