Merrick Raves About The Razorbacks

Florida prep offensive lineman Jalen Merrick (6-5, 310) - regarded as one of the nation's best 15 high school guards - had a great time this weekend while on his official visit to Arkansas, who routed No. 8 Ole Miss 30-0 on Saturday to become bowl eligible.

It’s all about That Fro.

New Smyrna Beach, Fla., offensive lineman Jalen Merrick (6-5, 310) sports an Afro and so did Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema – at least a fake one - for a bit this weekend.

"With Coach B, he's a really fun guy,” Merrrick said. “He took pictures with the Fro. He was trying to relate to me as possible.

“Going on a trip really far away from without your parents is kind of different,” Merrick added. “You're not use to it meeting coaches and recruiting is their business and just seeing that was really nice."

It was just part of a what Merrick – a four-star prospect per - called a great official visit to Fayetteville on a weekend when the Razorbacks (6-5) blanked No. 8 Ole Miss 30-0 and clinched a bowl berth.

"It was great, a lot different than what people say," Merrick said. "Arkansas is a very good place and I could see myself playing here. Everybody was like it's a lot of country and woods but once you get here in Fayetteville it completely opens up your eyes a lot."

As did being out with current Razorback offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola, his recruiting host who started his own Heisman Trophy campaign after throwing a touchdown pass earlier this season.

"Definitely, because I went out with (Sebastian) Tretola last night everybody seemed to know him,” Merrick said. “Everybody wanted to take pictures with him doing the Heisman. It was really nice."

Tretola made it clear to Merrick – who ranks the nation’s 14th-best offensive line prospect - that he’s the passing offensive lineman.

“He told me ‘you're not going to throw a touchdown pass until I'm gone," Merrick said laughing. "He was making it seem like I would really have a chance to throw it. I felt like a part of the Razorbacks while I was here."

Merrick is high on Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman.

"Coach Pittman has been recruiting me for a really long time," Merrick said. "I was just going off by what he's been saying about the place and it was nice to finally get up here and be around it. It's just great."

His parents were unable to make the trip, but will get to see Bielema and Pittman soon.

"They just go off my word and then in a couple of weeks Coach B and Coach Pittman will be heading down to my home to meet them," Merrick said.

The visit obviously helped Arkansas.

"It definitely puts them high in contention for my favorite school,” Merrick said.

Merrick had already visited Wisconsin before arriving in Arkansas and has trips to Alabama, Florida State and LSU scheduled at the moment.

But the Razorbacks and their fans left a big impression on Merrick.

“They told me how loyal the fans were and the $25,000 party on the field was worth it last week,” Merrick said. “There's a lot of devoted people here I could definitely see myself playing in front of that big of a crowd especially they're adding onto it (Reynolds Razorback Stadium) so that's going to be crazy too."

Jalen Merrick

Top photo courtesy of Jalen Merrick

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