Another Hazelwood east product with NU offer

Hazelwood East puts out its share of prospects year to year, though, last year wasn't one of those typical years for the Spartans. They will try and make up for it this year, however, starting with one of the leading returning running backs in the Midwest Thomas Merriweather. He's already sitting on some offers, which proves that this kid can play. That would be good enough for some, but not for him. His last year is the year he wants to prove the most of all.

If you are sitting on almost 2,500 yards rushing and over 40 touchdowns for your prep career, without even having played your senior year, you'd think as a running back, you'd be happy with where you are right now.

Not Hazelwood East's Thomas Merriweather. This is this year he wants to shine.

"There's some records I want and this is the year to get them," Thomas said of the school career marks in total yardage and rushing touchdowns. "I think we've got a good team this year, so I don't see any reason why I can't do it."

Merriweather accumulates his yards about anyway you can as a running back, using his 190 pound, 5 foot, 11 inch frame to be physical when needed or using his elusiveness and 4.5 speed to be that open field threat every team desires.

Thomas doesn't care how he does it, just so long as he does it, which is exactly what he thinks every time he gets the ball. "I want to score," Thomas said of his mind-set every carry he gets. "I know that's not happening all the time, but that's what goes through my mind when I am back there."

No, Thomas didn't score all the time, but it would be hard to argue with 25 touchdowns in a season, which is what he accomplished last year. That to go along with the 1,421 yards he amassed on the ground. That puts him approximately 30 touchdowns and 1,700 yards away from the marks he's looking to achieve.

If he does that, how many schools do you think will be knocking down his door?

Thomas already has a few, sporting five offers from around the central region – the home state Tigers going after him of course, but Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska have all jumped in as well. It would seem that it's entire Hazelwood East backfield most schools want, though, many of the same teams going after Merriweather, also going after teammate, fullback William Anderson.

So, you can see just one of the big reasons why Thomas is confident about the year.

It's probably not the same with recruiting, though. It's not like he's hesitant about it, because he's not. Thomas said that he's embracing it, happy with it and looking forward to what is going to happen. It's just that he knows with all the schools, there will come a decision to make. "Yeah, that's probably the bad side if there is one, because you eventually have to tell a lot of people no," he said. "But it's better than having nobody to tell no too."

Thomas has already been to a couple of junior days to programs around the area, and he's planning on taking in a few more unofficial visits as well. "I'd like to go visit Nebraska and Iowa definitely," Merriweather said. "Both have pretty successful programs and I know they are both recruiting me pretty hard."

It's probably obvious what to like about either the Hawkeyes or the Huskers, but as to Nebraska, what Merriweatherr knows is what many kids know about the current team. It's that the head coach not long ago was someplace else. "Bill Callahan is the old Oakland Raider coach," Thomas said. "I know he's been at Nebraska a couple of years, but he had some pretty good success with the Raiders."

That's appealing to all kids, hearing those famous three letters, thinking about their potential life in the big league. Thomas is no exception, but he likes to think that he's got his head grounded in reality right now. "I'm not thinking that far ahead right now, because that's a long ways away," he said. "Right now, I am thinking about my senior year and as to a college, I'd like to go someplace I can get on the field by the time I am a sophomore."

That's not usually what you hear from preps, regardless of ability – all seemingly wanting on the field and the instant they arrive. That's probably one of the things about Merriweather that makes getting that record and his success in the future not just possible, but very likely.

He understands reality versus dreams.

"No matter what you do, you have to work for it, but it only makes sense, the higher up in level you go, the harder you have to work," he said. "All that changes and you don't know what you are going to get, but you know it's going to be harder."

"So, I don't worry about that right now. I will worry about that when the time comes."

Aching to enjoy the process, Merriweather looks at the opportunity of the season as an opportunity in recruiting. While he used to hold Notre Dame and Michigan in high regard as a kid, he said everyone is on an even playing field right now. And he doesn't see that changing anytime soon, because he's planning on taking a look around. And anyone interested in him is going to get some interest back.

He'll worry about what to narrow down when it actually becomes something he has to do.

"Lots of time, lots of football and lots of stuff I still want to do," Thomas said. "We have a good team, so that's pretty much the most important thing right now. You can't waste time looking too far ahead or you miss out on what you have to do right now. And I am not missing out on this. We are going to have a good year."

We'll keep in touch with Thomas throughout the year, marking this as yet another product of Hazelwood East, who will be getting all kinds of attention. Can Nebraska lure yet another one to Lincoln? If so, Merriweather could join Chris Brook, who was just with Hazelwood not much over a year ago before he signed on with the big red.

Stay tuned.

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