Future Looks Bright for Matthew Merrick

As simply as it can be stated, 2015 quarterback Matthew Merrick (Irving, Texas/Cistercian) is headed to Texas.

We’ve known this. Merrick told HornsDigest that he’d stick with his commitment, which he gave to UT on Nov. 21, 2014, back in late February.

But because his verbal pledge was based off a greyshirt, there was always that chance that he could seek greener [Read: full scholarship] pastures.

He’s not interested in looking around any longer.

“It was a lot of drama around Signing Day about whether I’d get the full scholarship then,” Merrick said. “Then there were some other schools that came out and recruited me. But after thinking about it for weeks and talking it over with my family I just knew that I would be in the best position to be successful at Texas.”

One of the key things that he did in order to reach this decision was put everything on pause, if even for a second. He needed to reach within himself to find that feeling that made him feel as lucky as anybody on Nov. 20.

“It’s funny because when I committed that was the plan that was so exciting,” Merrick said. “When it came to Signing Day it was like that was the bad news. I needed to remember what it felt like to get that offer. I have set my mind on Texas and feel really comfortable with it. I don’t see any red flags.”

Merrick is still holding out hope that Charlie Strong and Shawn Watson will extend him a full scholarship before fall camp starts. But he’s prepared to hit the ground running regardless.

“As of right now I will be starting my scholarship in January,” he said. “I plan to be in Austin in the fall taking classes. I still could get a call saying they need me June 4 or whenever they report and that my scholarship is in full.”

Juggling the possibility of a full ride with the expectations of a greyshirt has been tricky at times. But Merrick is keeping a positive attitude as he feels like he’ll have a lot to prove to people regardless.

“It’s tough that it is a greyshirt because I will have a longer time before I can prove myself,” he said. “But it shouldn’t really matter what everyone else says as long as the staff had the faith in offering me. But I definitely do want to get out in front of my future teammates to show what I can do. I definitely feel like I have a lot to prove. And I want to prove Coach Strong and Watson right with their decision to offer me.”

The odds would certainly seem to be stacked against a “greyshirt” quarterback. But Merrick isn’t the exact definition of.

It was only until the end of his junior season that Merrick decided to stop playing basketball – his first love – to focus on football. So word took a while to get out on just how good he is/could become.

As a senior he completed 165-of-296 passes for 2,404 yards, 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also rushed 73 times for 198 yards and two scores.

Those numbers combined with his work ethic and the exposure that any sort of offer attached to Texas brings helped draw interest from others.

Colorado State and Nevada were among the schools that offered. A powerhouse from the SEC was very, very interested.

He thought long and hard about visiting other programs to see what they had to offer. But he didn’t. He stood pat and honored his Longhorns commitment.

“It’s a relief having my mind made up,” he said. “Most high school seniors are trying to figure out where they are going to school. The only part of it that’s tough is I can’t sign an actually letter right now with a greyshirt since you can’t sign a scholarship for the next year. So it’s still not on paper but it is a very strong verbal promise on both sides. It is nice to have it figured out and have my mind set on Texas.”

Because Merrick won’t sign his scholarship until January he’s not sure how much he can use Texas’ facilities, if at all. He’s hoping to join the team in 7-on-7 workouts this summer if possible.

In the meantime he’ll continue to work out with his personal quarterbacks coach Kevin Murray, the father of five-star A&M signee Kyler Murray.

“I’m throwing with Coach Murray twice a week, lifting every day and speed and agility twice a week,” he said. “I’d continue that into the summer.”

MERRICK VISITED UT FOR A PRACTICE A FEW WEEKS AGO. HERE’S WHAT HE SAW:

”I got there at 2:45 when the meetings started and I got to go into the quarterbacks room with the other quarterbacks and just kind of see what they do on a normal practice day. I got to say hi to them and then just listened in.”

”It was a hike to the practice field, I didn’t know it was that long. Once we got to the field we had some music going and they seemed pretty excited for practice. It was a very high-paced practice. I don’t know if they had any breaks honestly. It was high energy and the QBs did pretty well. It was cool to see all the drills they did. A lot of them were ones I had done at the ‘Under the Lights’ Camp.”

”The offense that Coach Watson had at Louisville with Teddy Bridgewater and the offense that is here now have the same concepts. I think depending on personnel they can be run differently. So it’s not a true spread. There are still elements of a pro style. But it is up-tempo. I think the offense he runs will depend on personnel. I feel good about running the offense.”

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