Merrick likes Summers’ coaching style

Jalen Merrick currently lists Alabama, Florida and South Carolina as his top three schools. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

If the energetic and intense Tim Davis still coached the offensive line at Florida, the Gators might not have a shot at fast-rising guard Jalen Merrick.

The 6-foot-5, 317-pounder from New Smyrna Beach is currently unrated by ESPN and a three-star prospect on every other site, but his list of 33 offers consists of several elite football programs, including Alabama, LSU and Ohio State.

All the in-state schools have offered as well, and Merrick camped at UF this past Saturday.

“It was a great visit,” he said. “I definitely got better this camp session. It was great working with coach (Mike) Summers.”

The soft-spoken Merrick took well to Summers’ coaching style.

“He’s a real calm coach,” Merrick said. “He really tries to push you to get better and really push you to your limits. If you mess up, he’s not going to bash you. … Most (O-line coaches) are really loud and in your ear, but he’s really just trying to help you get better and be the best that you can be.”

Merrick was offered by Florida on March 26 after attending spring practice, and that trip to Gainesville also stood out to him.

“It was great,” he said. “It was really one of my first practices that I’ve ever seen, and it was really organized. I like the way they run things around here.

“I really like their coaching staff and where the program is going with coach Muschamp here, and also the facilities and the players that they have now. I feel like we just have a really good relationship.”

UF offensive lineman commit Tyler Jordan also visited UF last weekend and gave his pitch to Merrick during the camp.

“He was trying to recruit everybody,” Merrick said of Jordan. “He was like, ‘You should be a Gator. This is the place for you.’ Now that I’ve looked, it is a good place to be. I plan to make my decision pretty soon after I go on a couple more visits.”

Merrick wants to take trips to Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and South Carolina, and will then decide between Florida and those schools before his senior season. He also would like to return to UF prior to his commitment.

“I’d like to see a lot more,” Merrick said. “I’m definitely going to come back throughout the recruiting process until I narrow things down.”


  1. He’s a big guy. Definitely won’t have to worry about him filling out to size. Love to see BIG guards especially since we seem to be going back to a zone blocking scheme….size creates movement.

  2. gator drew, the gators are not anywhere close to having a dominant defense. This isn’t 2012. Ask La’del Collins if he’s glad to have Dante Fowler still at UF. He dominated him last year. A common theme for the gators defensive line. As for Merrick, UF doesn’t have to worry about FSU getting him, Rick Trickett is not an easy going guy. I’m surprised there isn’t any comment from Zach about how a possible NCAA investigation stemming from the Phillips ouster will affect recruiting. You can’t ignore it, it’s going to be the first thing other schools say when talking about UF. I just hope Zach, that you are not like the administration that choose to hide it’s head in the sand and only putout “personal reasons” when everyone knows that a guy doesn’t attend a morning session and then suddenly vanishes without there being a major story behind it. Zach, the paradigm has changed and you might as well tackle it head on. recruiting is now different for UF from a couple of days ago.

  3. Joker was not recruiting the majority of our recruits…..and the majority of the recruits stated that the Joker situation does not impact them….if fsu, miami etc got no penalty for all their “stuff”..much more serious violations at the u…UF acts “swiftly” when things like this comes up…I don’t think anyone is “hiding their head in the sand” SMH

  4. I would not worry about FSU. The Gators have enough on their plate already. Before we can talk about beating FSU, let’s win a game against a good team first. The upset over FSU in 2012 is the last time that happened. We now have to wait until September 20 for another opportunity. It’s nice to talk trash, but you need to be able to back it up. It was very irritating to see the Gator defense talk so much last year when they never stopped anyone. Maybe this year they’ll put more focus on making plays than committing penalties and talking trash.

  5. Does that plate include crab? lol Come on.. Ya’ll won good on ya. Don’t just spout hate and crap. Florida’s got a commanding lead in the series by 10+ games. Gator’s had a great defense last season with a ton of injuries. Why are you trolling a UF site when you’re an FSU fan? You are obviously looking for attention…… are you happy now?

    • Stan,
      There’s hardly any news to cover. Way fewer prospects and scholarships offered by colleges. You don’t see the other Florida recruiting sites have much on it, either. Brockway writes a blog or story whenever there’s something important to report.

  6. NTCRZE… UF’s defense was still ranked as one of the top 10 in the country while playing the nation’s toughest strength of schedule and was playing walk-ons at LB with more than half the front seven out in their last game v.s. fsu, not to mention with an offense that left them on the field for the majority of their games.

    The Gator defense is as talented as any in the country, it’s just a matter of the younger players stepping up to replace the ones who’ve left.

  7. With all due respect Zach is that sarcasm? College basketball recruiting is a huge deal. It is true most of the florida sites don’t cover it well, but that has changed a bit and with the rise of the program more interest is there. I think fans of top hoops programs have as much interest as fans of top football programs. Lets face it our basketball team is in much better shape. Rivals, ESPN and many others to name a few cover hoops recruiting in great depth.

    • Steve,
      No, it’s not sarcasm. Rivals and ESPN covers it on a national scale because they can provide content on dozens of schools. But most team specific sites, as I said and you acknowledged, don’t really cover basketball recruiting. I realize some of you would like more of it for Florida, and understandably so. But it would have to come from Kevin Brockway as he covers everything about the basketball program, including recruiting stories. This blog has always been about football recruiting. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to email me at The comment section of Jalen Merrick’s story isn’t really the forum to discuss this.

  8. I have found that the ‘Offers List’ is a much better indicator of a recruits potential than the recruiting service star rating is. The offers are substance based. The recruiting services can be very
    ‘political’ and/or arbitrary in their ratings. IMOHO, rivals has become a reFSUcks lacky on recurit ratings over the last couple of years. When I want a recruiting service ‘opinion’ I mostly use ESPN.

  9. Not only that, most offensive guards and centers are never ranked higher than 3 stars. Maybe because it’s not a glamor position. Also some kids don’t show their potential until they’ve been coached up at several camps before their senior HS season.
    I also agree that when a kids offer list gets some heavy hitters like Bama, ND, and such their ratings usually go up.

  10. A quick example of offers vs stars:

    #34 OT Jalen Merrick 6-5 295 (rivals ***, ESPN NR) New Smyrna Bch, FL
    Offers: UF, Tn, UA, UGA, LSU, SCa, MsSt, VU, Mia, MichSt, NW, tOSU, Ok, Wis, etc.

    #28 S Marcus Lewis 6-2 187 4.54/40 (ESPN ***, rivals Top 100 ****) Bradenton, FL
    Offers: UF, Tn, Ms, Clem, FSU, Mia,VaTech, ND, Mich, MichSt, tOSU, PSU, Ore, etc.

    #16 OLB Adonis Thomas 6-4 218 (ESPN and rivals ****, UA-AA) Lawrenceville, Ga.
    Offers: UF, Tn, UA, UGA LSU, aTm, SCa, VU, ND, FSU, Mia, Mich, Ok, Tx, Ore, etc.

    Despite the differences in star and position rankings, they all have the same type of offers.