NU's Academics the Key for Mertz

While many Northwestern recruits were forced to change their signing day plans because of winter weather, Shane Mertz was able to sign his letter of intent as planned Wednesday at Raritan High School in New Jersey.

"We had the whole ceremony and stuff after school," he said. "It was me and two other teammates signed and we just did a mock signing thing and a bunch of people were there to take pictures."

After making his commitment to Northwestern official, Mertz talked to coach Pat Fitzgerald.

"We just talked about how excited we are, both of us," Mertz said.," and he welcomed me to the family."

Mertz has also been in contact with the coaches about his role on the team next season.

"I'll probably be redshirting," he said. "A majority of the freshmen are. They're going to try to redshirt me to get five years in, but if an opportunity arises, I could play."

However, football isn't the only reason for Mertz's commitment to NU.

"Their academics were a major part of it for me," he said. "It was a combination of academics and athletics that put me over the edge. It's the only place in the country that has this combination of great academics and great football."

After a long recruiting process, Mertz can't wait to get to Evanston and start his career with the Wildcats.

"I'm ready to go,"

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