Offensive guard Jalen Merrick attended his second Florida game of the season last weekend when UF played host to LSU.
The 6-foot-5, 317-pounder from New Smyrna Beach enjoyed watching the Gators despite their loss.
“It’s always great to be back in The Swamp,” Merrick said. “It always feels really cool, especially when they come down by the goal line. It’s always loud.
“It hurts to see anybody lose, especially when you’re interested in the team. But I know they’ll bounce back when they play Missouri.”
Merrick said he contemplated committing while in Gainesville, and added that UF is the only school he has thought about pledging to during a visit.
“I always think about it,” he said. “I try to keep level headed and wait until I set a date. But (Florida) is just a great school and a great atmosphere.
“It was one of my first big offers and my first actual college visit. That’s something I don’t take for granted, and I always like coming here.”
The four-star prospect attended Miami’s game against Duke on Sept. 27, but not as a recruit. His father is a season-ticket holder.
Merrick wasn’t as impressed with the crowd at Sun Life Stadium.
“It’s definitely a lot different than here,” Merrick said after exiting Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The Gators and Hurricanes are currently the leaders for his services.
“It’s definitely still a two-headed race with Florida and Miami,” Merrick said. When asked if UF was his top school, he responded, “I’d say they’re definitely up there.”
Merrick plans to take his official visits and already has two set up to Arkansas (Nov. 22) and Ohio State (Nov. 29). He said the Gators will probably receive one after the season.
Merrick, like many other recruits, has concerns about the future of Florida’s coaching staff.
“Everybody has that,” he said. “I talked to Byron Cowart, CeCe (Jefferson) and Martez (Ivey). They’re kind of unsure if the staff is going to be here next year. So a lot of people don’t want to commit yet.”
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