The Florida Gators fought off the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night in front of a packed house in The Swamp for an exciting three overtime win over the SEC foe. The stands were charged with fans’ excitement and the team rallied late in the game to come up with the victory.
New Smyrna Beach offensive guard Jalen Merrick made the trip to Gainesville this week after seeing a game at Miami a couple of weeks ago and knows the difference is substantial when it comes to atmosphere on game day.
“It was a good atmosphere and something different than I am used to seeing,” Merrick said moments after the game when he walked outside the stadium.
The Gators’ offense racked up yards but not points in the first half, but managed 17 points in the second half and another 16 in overtime. Merrick was intrigued with what he saw.
“It took a while to get going, but I still liked it,” he said of the offense. “I feel they meshed perfectly and I like the philosophy Coach Roper and Coach Summers bring to the offense. I think they did a good job and it’s a great sight that I will have a chance to play as well.”
Merrick saw some composure with the Florida offense.
“I just think they fought through it and overcame adversity,” he said. “A lot of people at the time didn’t think they would win the game and it just shows they were resilient and were able to win the game.”
The Florida coaches appreciated the big man’s interest in coming and made sure he knew where he stood with them.
“I am pretty sure that everyone thought I was going to commit at Friday Night Lights and they know how I feel about everything,” he said. “They just told me my offer is still committable.”
Along with the Gators, four other teams are in the hunt including Florida State, Miami, South Carolina, and Alabama. His visit to Alabama scheduled for next weekend has been moved to after the season. He does plan on taking some trips during the season.
“I would like to take three during the season and two after,” he said. “I will probably only take one to an in-state school and the rest out of state.”
The Gators and Hurricanes seem to be the two teams at the top of the heap and somewhat of a two-team race.
“It kind of is, it is a two-way battle right now,” Merrick said. “Those are the schools that I visit the most and I feel comfortable with both schools.”
In the end, he knows what he is looking for.
“It will be whichever place I feel most comfortable with,” he said. “Like when I am here, I talk to Darious (Darious Cummings is his cousin) a lot and he tells me about what is going on here. I get an honest opinion from him and I get an honest opinion from the coaches at Miami as well.”
Stay tuned to Scout as we stay on top of the recruitment of Jalen Merrick.