Four star linebacker prospect Merlin Robertson has been playing football at Junipero Serra HS where he currently holds scholarships from likes of Cal, Miami, Oregon State, Illinois, USC, and Utah. However, the BYU Cougars hold a special place in his heart.
“The main reason why is because of the LDS connection,” said Robertson. “I’m LDS and BYU is my church college. My whole family have told me that BYU would be a great place for me because I’ll be able to go to church, stay close to God, and strengthen my faith. A lot of schools don’t have that.”
Robertson is a strong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and although he’ll be a member of the 2018 recruiting class he already has plans to serve a two-year mission.
“One of the coaches at BYU told me that I would be able to go serve my two-year LDS mission without any problems,” Robertson said. “They would support me leaving and serving my mission because that’s something I really want to do. Most schools wouldn’t really allow that because that’s just not their thing but BYU is all about that. That’s what really stands out to me.”
When BYU offered Robertson under former head coach Bronco Mendenhall, Merlin was excited knowing he could go to a college where the student body and coaches espouse the same religious culture.
“When I got the offer from BYU, I was excited,” Robertson said. “It was a great relief to me because my family was going through a rough time at that time. When Coach Mendenhall called me up on the phone and offered me. Man that took a whole lot of stress off of me. I thought I could finally go to a school where people have the same belief and standards as me.”
In a rush, former BYU assistant coach Paul Tidwell flew out to see Robertson perform on a Friday night. Tidwell then turned around that night to fly back to BYU in preparation for a game the following day. This act by Coach Tidwell really caught Robertson’s attention.
“The thing that really got me was one of the older BYU linebacker’s coach came out to one of my games, and he had never done what he did before,” said Robertson. “He told me that BYU was really interested in me. They had a game the next day, so he had to fly out down here to see my game. Then he had to fly out that night because they had a game the next day. That really proved to me how much BYU cared for me and that really got me.”
Now the baton has been passed to Kalani Sitake’s staff where Robertson feels they’re doing a great job of recruiting him as well.
“They’ve continued recruiting me pretty hard,” said Robertson. “They’ve done a good job. I’ve only been recruited by BYU for about five to seven months, so BYU is kind of a recent thing for me as I didn’t really grow up watching BYU football, but I’m learning more about the school now. I really like BYU a lot. I hear most of the staff is Poly. I really want to visit BYU and see the campus and check things out.”
There are three criteria Robertson is looking for at the college level. In comparison, BYU stacks up well against every one of them.
“I want to get a good education and that’s something I’m looking for. I want to study electrical engineering,” said Robertson. “I want to not only be a part of a good football program, but I want to be a part of a good football program that will keep me humble and close to the gospel like BYU.”
There is no doubt that Robertson wears his faith on his sleeve. He sees how BYU represents more than just football.
“When you play at BYU you represent more than just a university,” Robertson said. “It represents more than just playing football. Other schools are just based on their program and that’s what they represent. USC and other schools don’t have the LDS religion or have the faith to go with what they do in their program. BYU really stands out in that way.”
Once Robertson planned on waiting to commit to a school of his choice, but now it appears that he may have changed his mind. He’s now thinking he might make a decision sooner rather than later.
“The plan was to wait and do the whole process, but I thought about pulling the trigger a little bit early,” said Robertson. “I’m not sure when though.”