UP NEXT: 2008 Hillcrest RB Chris Merrill

After two jawdropping performances in a row Hillcrest RB Chris Merrill has emerged on the scene with a bang. Running for 170+ yards in each of his first two games the 2008 prospect should see his recruitment take off in a big way. Come inside and learn more about RB Chris Merrill.

Hillcrest High School suffered a disappointing season last year going winless. Things have changed a great deal since then as Hillcrest has emerged with a renewed demeanor and swagger. Coach Andy Hallman has a great deal to do with that as does 2008 RB Chris Merrill. SCPrepNation.com caught up with Merrill to talk about his season and recruitment as he's the next player to be featured in our "UP NEXT" series.

They put a huge scare into a usually strong T.L. Hanna squad in week one losing in the last seconds and defeated their archrivals Mauldin 34-24 last Friday. That win is just a sign of how things have changed for the Rams football program. Chris Merrill played a huge role in both of those games and the humble running back broke it down for us.

You see Merrill opened the season against T.L. Hanna with 25 carries for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last Friday he put in another workhorse effort with 31 carries for 190 yards and a touchdown. The humble Merrill talked about his performances and why he's looking line one of the best running backs in the area. "Well I don't really look at it like that. I'm just trying to get better everyday and help my team out because last year we didn't win one game. Just everytime I'm out there and I think about last year and I'm doing what I can to help my team win."

Merrill is a true team player as he made it clear that team comes before his own success. "My first goal is to help my team win a lot more games. My second goal would be to remain focused. After all of that I want to try and get at least 100+ yards per game."

At 5'9 180 pounds Merrill isn't the largest back out there but what he brings is a chip on his shoulder due to the fact he won't let last season's winless mark get out of his head. We asked him about his success in Hillcrest's first 2 games and he told us, "I think I'm just a hard runner. Most of the time I'll explode upon contact and I usually end up breaking a few tackles. I try to run hard each and every time I get the ball." That mentality has paid big dividends for Merrill and the Rams as they are putting up points and changing how they are viewed by opponents and fans on the gridiron.

The 2008 prospect sees room for improvement he says. "I'd have to say I probably need to improve my vision on the field. I look at film and I see sometimes where I should've cut back or been more patient." This past offseason Merrill put in plenty of work with his Hillcrest coaches to try and improve on every aspect of his game but especially his speed.

When it comes to watching and learning from other players Merrill says he watches a lot of two of the game's most dazzling players. "I like watching Reggie Bush and probably after him Ladanlian Tomlinson.

D1 schools haven't shown the Hillcrest star much interest yet. That could change very soon should he continue to put up huge numbers on the ground for the Rams. "I haven't had that many big schools contact me. Schools like Presbyterian, Elon, Coastal Carolina, South Carolina State, and there's others but no really big schools. Small schools like Lenoir Rhyne."

He hasn't taken any unofficial or official visits yet but Merrill says that he stays in close contact with the Elon coaches and they have asked that he come up and visit when he can. Merrill says he will soon start taking a serious look at making some visits.

Inside The Numbers...Chris Merrill
Bench press max: 250 pounds
Squat max: 425 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.5 seconds
GPA: 3.2
Stats after 2 games: 56 carries 362 yards 3 touchdowns (6.46 yards per carry)

SCPrepNation.com will keep a close eye on Hillcrest RB Chris Merrill as the season continues.

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