Comeback kid leads C.P. in many ways: Six months after his ACL surgery, Meschede was back in action
By STEVE HANLON
CROWN POINT – The future was so bright for Crown Point junior Jeff Meschede last winter that he had to wear shades. And he wasn’t donning in any old Ray-Bans. Nope. Not at all.
His light-blockers were more in the ballpark of the Prime 21 shades, the ones that Colorado football coach Deion Sanders is hawking these days.
Then, in an instant, everything changed drastically.
“I heard a pop,” said Jeff’s mom, Vanessa Meschede of what occurred at Hanover Central last December in a heavyweight wrestling match. “I knew it wasn't good.”
As a 10th grader, Meschede had made it to the Freshman-Sophomore state championship for the Bulldogs’ powerful wrestling program. And last autumn for C.P.’s football team, the 5-foot-10, 260-pound offensive lineman was named to the Junior All-State team.
The future was uncertain.
“Jeff is as good of a kid a coach could ever ask for,” Crown Point football coach Craig Buzea said on Wednesday. “He’s old-school. Everything is ‘Yes, sir’ or ‘No sir.’ He’ll do whatever we ask him to do. He’s a great student and an even better kid off the field as he is on it.
“And he’s pretty good out there every Friday night.”
Buzea credited Meschede’s work ethic for being able to have ACL surgery in February and to sweat it out and make it on the field for Crown Point’s season opener against Lowell on Aug. 18.
After the surgery was completed, Vanessa spoke of how her son was at the YMCA at 5:30 a.m. for physical therapy, then hurried over to the school for weight lifting a short time later. His work pounding iron has him a member of the Big Dog Club.
His bench press is 330. His squat is 430. And in the power clean, [the number is 275.
Meschede is the only returning starter on the offensive line for the Class 6A No. 4 team in the state. The undefeated Bulldogs are averaging over 39 points a game, that while playing most second halves with running clocks.
“I played a lot of sports when I was a kid,” Meschede said. “But football was always my favorite. I played basketball but I was a big kid. I got a lot of fouls when I played basketball. I did the Jordan Rules on everyone.”
Vanessa would not let Jeff play youth football until he was in the fifth grade. Then, it was flag football at first. Finally, he got to put on the pads.
“At my first practice when we conditioned, I almost passed out,” Meschede said. “But I learned to love it.”
His father, Jason, brought up his son’s music ability and why the family got him into the kind of hobby. Meschede plays the piano and the stand-up base.
“There is a high correlation between music and high academic success,” Jason said. “That’s always been important to us.”
Meschede has a 4.0 GPA and even with the injury, he’s being recruited by DePauw and Case Western. Buzea believes others will get in the hunt as well.
“His leadership on our team is amazing,” Buzea said. “It really is. He has the respect of all the guys on the team. That’s just who he is. When Jeff speaks, they listen.”
Meschede spoke of the difference Buzea has made on the Crown Point football program. This is Buzea’s third year at C.P. after a Hall of Fame career at other schools.
“When he got here the work ethic changed, everyone started working harder,” Meschede said. “He changed the work ethic. Everyone got on board.”
His Bulldogs have not won a sectional championship since 2018. This season, however, such a thing seems doable. If not more.
So the question is still out there, just like his playing career last December. Will Meschede have a chance to wear his shades inside of Lucas Oil Stadium this November?
“We believe in each other,” he said. “We believe we have the talent to bring it all home.”
Jeff Meschede had surgery for a torn ACL in February and was able to recover in time to make it back for the start of the football season Aug. 18. Photo by Steve Hanlon