Though we usually reserve Fridays for our interview series, we wanted to get a head start on things this week for our conversation with Don Mewhort. Like Marion Graves, whom we interviewed last week, Don and his wife, Gail, received our newsletter aimed at parents of draft-eligible seniors. It helped him as he led the vetting process for his son, Jack, who was selected 2/59 by the Colts in May after a sterling career on the offensive line at Ohio State.
Going into his senior season, what was your perception of what round Jack would be drafted, and where did you get that information from?
“We thought he’d be drafted, but we didn’t have any idea where, maybe in the first five rounds, and where we got that information, we got it from various websites and media outlets. Ohio State didn’t provide any resources for that. Ohio State stayed out of it pretty much. That being said, I didn’t think it was appropriate to work through Ohio State on that. Given the history with agents and universities, I didn’t think it was appropriate to rely on them for that. Coach Meyer and I have a great relationship and I think he would have helped me but I didn’t think it was appropriate.
“Ohio State’s coaches never offered advice on agent selection. However, (former Ohio State assistant coach) Mike Vrabel talked to parents on his experience before Jack’s junior year, in the summer between his sophomore and junior year, and that was an Ohio State-sponsored thing with the parents group.”
What resource or person did you use in the agent vetting process? The school? A friend who played in the NFL? A former OSU teammate? Parents of a former teammate?
“We had a friend who was in the business who was formerly in player representation that I spoke to. He has been out of the business for a long time. We talked to him. We also talked to (ITL’s Neil Stratton) briefly, and I think that was the extent of it.”
How much anxiety or apprehension did you have about the agent selection process going into Jack’s senior year? Was the process intimidating?
“I don’t’ think (Gail and I) felt any anxiety about the process. We only felt anxiety about the phone calls and texts that Jack was receiving.”
When did those start?
“(Mid-July), I guess. The way we handled it, when I got calls, or we got calls at home, we asked (Jack) to refer all the calls to me, and there was a process that we were going to go through, and we asked that they respect Jack’s privacy and commitment to his senior season. We didn’t really want him to be distracted. It can be overwhelming for the (players). It’s flattering, and kind of like going through the recruiting process again, but I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of the kids to be getting recruiting calls from agents during their season.”
How did you go about deciding how you would handle the selection process?
“It’s something we came up with, my wife and I and my father who’s an attorney; he’s semi-retired and had some time to spend on it. We tried to gather as much info as we could from the various agents, and (my father) and I met with a number of people and tried to narrow the list as much as we could. We probably actually met with 10, and then narrowed the list to five, and then picked a day in Columbus, and his mother and I met with the final group, between the regular season and the bowl game. We wanted to have everybody on the same day, so we had the same context for everybody. We met with each of them for about an hour, hour and a half, and then at that point it was really Jack’s decision.”
Did any agents offer illegal inducements to sign Jack? How did agents pitch Jack and the Mewhort family in an attempt to sway them to their side? What’s Don’s advice to other parents? It will all be in Friday’s edition. See you then.