It is my experience that when it comes to constructing recruiting classes there are priorities. Each class needs that quarterback, then the prizes are defensive tackles, cornerbacks, and after that any other position with prospects that are difference makers.
This past weekend Oklahoma State got its class quarterback in Georgia native Jelani Woods, who drove with his family all the way from Georgia for the weekend visit. They also got a cornerback and really good one at that in Tyon Merchant of A&M Consolidated High School in Texas.
Merchant is 6-1, 185 pounds, big for a corner and watching him on video he shows a distinct physical presence.
"Yes sir, I'm physical," Merchant said. "I know I'm physical and I like to come down and make the hit."
That is what the video shows as he repeatedly closes from dropping in coverage to come up and make tackles on run plays. He also is shown several times coming from across the field and slamming into a ball carrier.
Merchant had 37 tackles last season with two tackles for loss. He had a fumble recovery and an interception in the playoffs. He also had at least six blocked punts and recovered one and ran it in for a touchdown. His sophomore season he showed a talent for the corner blitz with seven sacks.
Quickness is an attribute as he lists a 4.45 in the forty and a 255-pound max on the bench press. Besides the Cowboys, Houston, SMU, and UTSA had offered with Baylor, TCU, hometown Texas A&M, and UTEP actively recruiting.
"I really liked the weekend," Merchant said about his trip and the pledge he made before kickoff of the spring game on Saturday. "I liked the coaches and the facilities, everything they showed me was excellent. I got to spend some time with Coach (Tim) Duffie and (head) Coach (Mike) Gundy. The feeling I got during our conversation, it was a great feeling, so I decided that is where I want to go to school and I committed."
Merchant said he enjoyed the game. He liked the way the defense played. Academically, he should fit at Oklahoma State as well as he is looking to major in mechanical engineering.