Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker Merlin Robertson is only a sophomore, but the 6-foot-2, 220-pound four-star already has Miami, Hawaii, Utah, BYU and Illinois.
Robertson has been surprised by the early attention college coaches have given him.
“I really was,” said Robertson. “Yea, but I worked for it, you know? Like every day I wake up in the morning and I go for a run, go to morning weights. I work hard to get offers.
“I'm trying to be the best coming out of Serra. Make a name for myself. Put my city on the map.”
That city has a long, proud tradition of putting playing into the college football and pro football ranks. USC itself has 10 football players on its roster from Serra high school.
Although USC has yet to offer Robertson a scholarship, he is working toward that goal as an outside linebacker prospect.
“I'm an aggressive player and I like to get physical,” said Robertson. “But I see my self staying at outside linebacker because of the way I'm built.
“I'm skinny. I'm not really that bulky. It doesn't matter though…. I’ll take whatever comes.”
That would include a scholarship offer from USC. The first thing Robertson thinks about with the Trojans football program is the outstanding lineage of Polynesian alumni.
“Su’a Cravens, JuJu (Smith), Damien (Mama) and all of them with a Poly connection,” said Robertson. “I know it's a good school. It's close to home. Down the street from my house, so there’s a little bit of interest.”
And paying close to home is something Robertson is heavily considering.
“Yea I've thought about it,” said Robertson. “I kind of want to stay close to home. With my mom, I'd like to spend more time with her.”
Another factor in his recruitment will be Robertson’s faith. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Robertson’s brother served his mission right out of high school.
“Hopefully a college will hold my scholarship and let me start my mission two in years,” said Robertson. “One that I can get a good education. I guess that's it.”