OSU offer to safety now on hold

THE WRITTEN OFFER from Oregon State to Jake Merrill never arrived in the mail and it doesn't appear to anytime soon, as circumstances look to have changed. And although the Gig Harbor, Wash., safety remains interested in the Beavers, he's also interested in a few other schools.

Merrill says OSU has told him there are a couple other safeties they're looking at, and they'd need to see how those situations played out before deciding if an offer in writing to Merrill will be extended. Previously, at the Beavers' camp, Merrill said coach Mike Riley had extended a verbal offer, but also that it wasn't a done deal.

"He said 'We do want you and we do want to offer you a scholarship,' so I consider that a verbal" said Merrill back in June. "If that's not a verbal (offer), I don't know what is...He said "You're a great player, I think you'll mix in very well here.'"

"(Riley) said 'What we're going to do is we're going to talk about it as a staff and make sure this is what they want too. And I know they do, but we're just going to talk a bit more'," said Merrill at the time. See the June 27 article for the complete story: Did OSU offer Merrill?

Merrill, (6-2.5, 200) stressed he's fine with the situation, and with OSU wanting to look at other safeties.

"They gave me a verbal offer but not in writing so its a matter of seeing if that's going to happen or not, because now things have changed," he added.

MERRILL HAS RECENTLY turned his attention to Washington, visiting the UW earlier this month for a recruiting event.

"That was really good," said Merrill. "I got a lot of good news out of that."

With Taylor Mays going to USC, Merrill said that could pave the way for him joining Tyrone Willingham at the UW.

"At UW, they're only going to bring in one safety," said Merrill. "They said, 'If we could offer you, we would. If it was a normal year for scholarships, we'd offer you.' But they said its not a normal year and that they have to be picky. Right now, coach Willingham said their need is at cornerback on defense, and that's not my position. So safety isn't a huge need for them, but it might be one they could fill with me."

Merrill also said Willingham left little doubt that Washington holds him in high regard.

"He said, 'You're a safety, but you also have the build and speed to play linebacker if you need to and we could put weight on you like that. So we might try to bring you in at linebacker. But all I need you to do right now is be patient,'" said Merrill. "He said, 'We love you up here, Jake, don't get me wrong. You're everything we're looking for, its just a matter of what our needs are.'"

OREGON, WHOM MERRILL visited the weekend before the UW visit, has also asked him to be patient.

"I talked to coach Bellotti and coach Neal," said Merrill. "They both expressed to me they really like me. Its a matter of being patient. They said, 'We offered out so many scholarships before to these different safeties that are ranked. Now that we know who you are and what you can do, we kind of wish we hadn't done that. So now its a matter of seeing what happens and hopefully things will fall into place and there will be an open scholarship for you somewhere.'"

Merrill said he hopes to make enough plays on the field this season, which begins September 2, so that things will take care of themselves.

"For both (Washington and Oregon), its a matter of seeing what happens, and I don't have a problem with waiting," said Merrill. "Right now, those are the main two schools. I'm still very interested in Oregon State and Washington State."

Merrill said he's contacted coach Ken Greene at Washington State, who expressed the Cougs were still "very interested" in him. And he continues to work the phones to all the Northwest schools, including Washington.

"I've been calling UW a lot lately," said Merrill. "I've stayed in touch with coach Wilks. We've all stayed in contact, with me emailing and calling them."

MERRILL WILL BE FEATURED this upcoming season on the Sports Blitz, aired on KING 5 TV in Seattle. A In the Spotlight segment will profile Merrill, follow his senior season and college recruitment over the course of the year. Merrill said he's looking forward to it, although he's most concerned about playing football.

"I'm not the kind of guys who cares about where I'm ranked," he said. "Three stars, five stars, one star -- that doesn't mater to me. I'm the kind of kind of guy that cares about playing."

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