Dakota Merritt Commits to MSU

Dakota Merritt, a 6-6, 290-pound offensive/defensive lineman who plays for West Florida High School of Advanced Technology in Pensacola, Florida, has committed to Mississippi State after visiting them earlier this week.

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Prior to his unofficial visit to Mississippi State Dakota knew very little about Mississippi State. But after taking in the sights he liked what he saw. In fact, he liked it so much that it took him less than 24 hours to make his college choice.

"I committed to Mississippi State (Thursday) morning," said Dakota, who is MSU's 18th commitment. "I visited Mississippi State (Wednesday). I liked the atmosphere and I really, really liked the coaches there. (Starkville) is not that big of a town and I like that. It's a big thing to be a player there. I guess it fits me really good. And they have a real good agricultural program."

Dakota commented on what the MSU coaches liked about him.

"The coaches at State said they really liked my size. They like the weight that is on me. They said it's good weight, not fat at all," said Dakota, who was recruited by MSU offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey.

His high school head coach agrees with the MSU coaches assessment of his player.

"He has no body fat on him. He's developed well," said Coach Scott Watson.

State had to beat out several D-I schools for this outstanding lineman.

"UCF (Central Florida) was the first to offer. Then, right after that North Carolina State offered," said Dakota. "Mississippi State offered me about 6 weeks ago. Louisiana-Lafayette also offered me. FIU or FIA also offered. Clemson has been recruiting me really hard and wanted me to come up there (Thursday). They were wanting me to come up there really, really bad today. So, I'm pretty sure they were going to lay an offer on the table. But I felt at home at Mississippi State yesterday, so I went ahead and made my decision."

Although he's played defense in high school, it appears his position on the collegiate level will be offensive lineman, most likely offensive tackle due to his size.

"Mississippi State was recruited me as an offensive lineman. The only defensive lineman recruiting that I had was from Clemson. They were wanting me to be a defensive tackle," said the 17-year old.

Does he have a position preference?

"It really doesn't matter to me, but I've never played offensive line before," said Dakota. "I've been told by many people that is where I will play the most in college. This year will be my first year to play it. I've played defensive line all three years that I've played. I'm making the conversion this year."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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