Merrill happy to be a Husky

With all of the fans and current Husky players on the field before the annual Purple & Gold game to end spring practices for the University of Washington several soon-to-be Huskies may have been lost in the crowd. Of the seven 2006 signees on the sidelines, one of the easiest to see was Gig Harbor S Jake Merrill who was decked out in his purple Husky sweatshirt.

"It was such great day," Merrill said after returning to his parents' home in the south sound. "It was great weather, it was great to be around the program again and it was great to be around the guys again."

Besides Ryan Tolar, Cody Habben, Cameron Elisara, Jake Locker and Marcel Reece, Merrill also hung out with soon-to-be Michigan Wolverine Steve Schilling who made the trip across the 520-bridge from Bellevue to take in the game.

"It was weird seeing Steve there, but it was really cool getting to hang out with him again," Merrill said. "We're all pretty good friends so when we were sitting in the stands it was cool to hang out and talk about what we plan to do when we get to start hitting too.

"After the game, we went into the locker room and hung out with the players and just talked about the game and what it's going to be like next fall. Then we headed over the Johnny Rockets' and got some burgers and stuff and just kicked it together. Like I said, we're all pretty good friends."

Merrill was like a caged lion on sidelines, just antsy to get on the field and don the uniform he's dreamed about wearing since he was a child.

"I just can't wait to get out there and hit someone," Merrill said with a laugh. "Man, it is really hard to just sit there and watch. It was cool to see the intensity that they have and how they like to hit just like I do. August can't get here soon enough."

Merrill and his fellow class of 2006 mates also got to intermingle with some of the 2007 recruits the Huskies were hosting over the weekend. They didn't get to talk with them much, but he said he saw the coaches talking up a storm.

"It never stops for (the coaches)," Merrill noted. "They spent a lot of time talking to us, but they also spent quite a bit of time talking with the guys they are recruiting for next year. It's crazy how much they have to do."

Elisara came over across the state a day early and Merrill joined him in a conditioning run the coaching staff has given the 2006 class to prepare them for the rigors of fall practice.

Another thing Merrill has had to get used to is people, both young and old, asking him for his autograph.

"That's a weird feeling, but it's really cool," Merrill said humbly. "I remember when I was a kid and I was in their shoes. I never really got into autographs and stuff like that, but I always looked up to the players and was in awe. Now I'm in that place and I will stop and sign for anyone that asks. I love talking about football with people and how great Washington is. We're kind of the face of the program so anything I can do to help that, I'm ready to do it.

"I'm a Husky and that's all that needs to be said."

Merrill will be on campus on July 7th for offseason conditioning and in the meantime is doing his "Husky" workout to get ready for what promises to be an eventful career on Montlake. Top Stories