Irving (TX) Cisterican is home to one of the top prospects from the 2015 class in Texas with athlete Dare Odeyingbo. While Odeyingbo is closing in on double-digit offers, another Hawk is starting to generate some interest of his own; quarterback Matthew Merrick.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has been the starter for Cistercian since his sophomore season. Last season he led the Hawks to a 6-4 record while throwing for 1,956 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was highlighted by a 334-yard effort against Holland Hall.
Interest has picked up in recent weeks for Merrick with several college programs coming by his school to get an up close look. With good size and mobility, it's surprising that Merrick hadn't received much interest prior to a few weeks ago. Merrick, who is also a standout basketball player, says the reason is simple; he hadn't put all of his focus toward football.
Now, the rising gunslinger has put 100% of his focus on the gridiron and college coaches are taking notice.
"I played for the Texas Titans which for my grade is the best team in Texas, we won four national championships and just recently I stopped playing with them," he said. "So, my interest had always been basketball but my sophomore year I got the starting job here and playing quarterback is pretty special and I've taken that as my number one. A lot of schools were recruiting me for basketball and not as much for football but now I've committed to football and working with Kevin Murray, it's helped me out a lot. I'm definitely starting to get more interest. Basketball used to be my focus but now its football."
"There are definitely a lot of schools coming by for Dare and I to see us in person," he said. "There are a few coaches that have seen me throw during spring ball. During spring practice I've thrown for Nevada, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Minnesota and some others. I threw for Duke last week. Nevada and Duke I think I did really well for. I think Nevada is visiting next week with the QB coach and I'm going to Duke in the beginning of June."
Although Merrick has had some impressive practices in front of various coaches, he's still waiting for his first offer. That could be coming soon if he has another impressive performance.
"They say with quarterback it takes a little more time," he said. "Nevada is coming here with the quarterback coach and I'm going to Duke and I'll throw for both of them. I've thrown for both of them already but the big men want to see how I do. If I do well I think an offer could be coming."
While Merrick seems to be generating strong interest mostly from out-of-state programs, he says the local programs have taken notice and also stopped by Cistercian during the spring evaluation period.
"I went out to the junior day at SMU and went to a practice," he said. "Coach Morris is the quarterback coach and I met him. I've talked with TCU and they invited me and Dare to their camp. Texas has also come by and Coach Beatty from Texas A&M has come by."
With an invite to attend TCU's camp, Merrick says he will make the short drive to Ft. Worth in hopes of impressing the coaches. After all, they took time to come see him at his school.
"They said that Grayson (Muehlstein) and Foster (Sawyer) were both offered and they went to their camps," he said. "So, that's something that's on me if they're going to come to my school and see me."
What does he know about TCU?
"I've been to a couple of their games and I have some friends that go there and have been good in football," he said. "They produced Andy Dalton so the football is there, the school is there; I think it would be a great fit."
While he awaits his first offer, Merrick says every school that shows him interest will be treated equally. He knows first and foremost that he wants a place where he can enjoy the school on and off the field.
"For me, since I haven't got my first offer for any school that will take me I'll take them seriously," he said. "I want a school where I'll enjoy football but somewhere I'd be happy going to school there too. I also want to have a good relationship with the coach that recruited me."
In addition to TCU, Merrick plans to camp at SMU, Vanderbilt, Duke, Virginia, Nevada and various Ivy League programs.