For the second time in the last week, a member of the Central Valley football team has picked up his first Division I scholarship offer.
Last week, running back Landon Alexander received his first offer from UMass and Tuesday, outside linebacker Matt Merritt got the big news that he’s earned an opportunity to play at Army. Last season for the Warriors, Merritt (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) collected 90 tackles, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Merritt, who was excited but also quick to credit his coaches and teammates at Central Valley for helping with this milestone accomplishment.
“This meant a lot to me, it was really a blessing from above,” said Merritt. “Before our big games, Coach Mark (Lyons) is always addressing the point that with team success comes individual success. We all take that quote from him real serious because if we as a team preform like we’re capable of, that we’ll definitely be rewarded for him as a team and also as individuals. Today was just a big day for me and my family.
“I was starting to wonder about if offers would be coming but my parents have also told me that my time was coming and have tried to stay patient. Before this, I’ve been on the phone with a lot of teams over the last few months, unfortunately I haven’t been able to visit anyone because of COVID-19. I just feel very fortunate that my time finally arrived today.”
That time came when Merritt got a call from the defensive staff at Army, who pulled the trigger with an offer after building the relationship with Merritt over the last few weeks.
“A few weeks ago they started following me on Twitter and their outside linebackers coach reached out to me and told me that he wanted to get on the phone with me,” said Merritt. “Since then, I’ve been on the phone with him at least twice a week and have had great conversations. They believe I would have a bright future up there and sees me developing into a very good linebacker.
— Matt Merritt (@matt_merritt17) December 2, 2020
“I believe that I’m a versatile linebacker meaning I’m not just someone that stops the run, I believe I’m athletic enough to drop back into coverage and make plays on the ball against an opposing teams passing game. Army really likes me as a hybrid/outside linebacker but if I grow, I could move down onto the line or move to an inside linebacker. They believe I’m that good of an athlete that I can do it all.”
Merritt told PSN that he’s also hearing from other schools like Syracuse, Toledo, Akron and Bowling Green but this first one from Army is going to mean a lot to him.
“I do believe that this is just the beginning for my recruitment but my dad and I the team that called and offered first, they believed in you without seeing anybody else offer you,” he said. “It’s really an honor to receive my first one from such a prestigious place like Army. This is just the beginning but I’ll remember this one.”