A Florida offensive line target who revealed little information about his recruitment down the stretch made his decision Sunday night.
In somewhat of a surprise outcome, four-star guard Jalen Merrick announced his pledge to Arkansas on Twitter and will enroll early at the school. His enrollment status was in limbo earlier this week, but the NCAA cleared Merrick academically on Friday.
The Razorbacks beat out Florida and Florida State for the in-state prospect from New Smyrna Beach.
The Gators were the favorite for Merrick early on, and he almost committed at the LSU game in October. But Florida’s lead took a hit following Will Muschamp’s firing, and things didn’t look good for UF when he chose not to officially visit despite having one more trip available.
Fortunately for Florida, his decision not to attend the school had been expected for weeks, and the coaches would much rather see him in Fayetteville than Tallahassee. Moreover, all three of UF’s verbal commitments at the position are interior linemen.
Tackle is the offensive line spot the Gators need to address most for 2015, and they’re still the favorite to land five-star Martez Ivey and have three others officially visiting this month (Fredrick Johnson, South Carolina commit Christian Pellage and Miami commit Tyree St. Louis).
Also, Florida’s OL board will likely expand between now and signing day as UF looks to add at least three more linemen to the class.