OL Shane Mertz Grabs Rutgers Offer

Rutgers has hit the Jersey Shore hard in recruiting the class of 2011, and the latest one went to a 6-foot-8, 270-pound offensive tackle whose recruitment is gaining steam. In the last three weeks, Shane Mertz of Raritan High (Hazlet) grabbed three offers, including the one from Rutgers he received Wednesday. Learn what Mertz thinks, and the family tie he has with Rutgers.

Once Rutgers saw Shane Mertz's junior highlight film, the timetable for offering the 6-foot-8, 270-pound offensive tackle from Raritan High (Hazlet, N.J.) accelerated quickly.

As in a few months.

Mertz said he spoke with Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano late Wednesday afternoon, and during the conversation was informed Rutgers was sending a written offer his way. And following a workout, Mertz said he spoke with Schiano again in the evening.

"I think it's great. Coach Schiano is a great coach, and a great guy,'' Mertz said. "I just talked to him for 20 minutes, and everything is great.

"My dad (Rusty) went to Rutgers, so I always was kind of biased toward them. I always rooted for them in college football, and all college sports.''

Originally, Rutgers told Mertz he could get an offer if he performed well after seeing him during its summer camp, but that changed when his highlight dvd analyzed. And Rutgers wasn't the only school to act like that.

"Maryland, they had talked to me a little through the mail,'' Mertz said. "Then, out of the blue they came out and I talked to (assistant) coach (John) Donovan, and he said he was going to offer me once they saw my highlight video. My highlight video being made and sent out definitely had a big impact with Rutgers as well.

"Rutgers told me, Maryland told me and Duke told me they loved my highlight video, and that was pretty much why they offered so early.''

The last few weeks have been hectic for Mertz, who picked up an offer from Duke on April 9 and grabbed on from Maryland last week.

And this week Duke, Maryland, Buffalo and North Carolina already visited Raritan High to check on him, and a few other big-name schools have increased their recruiting efforts of him.

"In the summer, I'm going to Notre Dame's camp because they started to show interest in me,'' Mertz said. "Ohio State started to show interest in me, too. They've been sending me a lot of mail lately, so I might make a trip up there some time in June. I'm planning on going to Northwestern's camp as well.''

But before Mertz hits those camps, he will hit the campuses of the schools to already offer.

"I have to go around. I haven't even seen Maryland yet,'' Mertz said. "I'm going back to Rutgers, Duke and Maryland in May, so right now it's hard to determine what my top school is.''

The quick change in Mertz's recruitment has also caused him to take a step back and analyze the situation.

"I definitely don't want to make my decision until late in the summer, or even after my senior season,'' Mertz said, "just so I can have a chance to get all the offers possible. It's hard right now.''

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