Merrick learning from Summers

One of the top offensive lineman at Florida Gators’ Friday Night Lights was offensive lineman Jalen Merrick (6-5, 295, New Smyrna Beach, FL High) who decided to work out instead of just watch.

“It was nice, I had the chance to work with Coach [Mike] Summers,” Merrick said. “I had the chance to get to perform in the Swamp and see that environment. It was nice.”

Merrick has been on Florida’s campus several times and has met Summers several times as well. Summers’ personality is something that sticks out to Merrick.

“Coach Summers has a calm personality and that stood out to me again tonight [Friday],” Merrick said. “If you do something bad he isn’t going to bad mouth you he’s just going to encourage you and fix it so that you do it right the next time.”

Several different offensive line prospects have mentioned that they have learned a lot from Summers and Merrick is no different.

“I’ve learned pass blocking from him because my high school is run dominant,” Merrick said. “I’m having to learn how to pass block and he’s taught me some things.”

During the entire event on Friday night Florida commit Tyler Jordan was in Merrick’s ear about Florida.

“Tyler’s message all night was that they are building a legacy here,” Merrick said. “He said that they starting to get some pieces like George Brown and that are really going to change the program.”

Before Merrick left Florida on Friday he had the opportunity to go up to the coaches office and talk to Will Muschamp.

“Coach Muschamp just really likes my style of play,” Merrick said. “He said that I’m a straight baller. I guess that’s a pretty good description.”

Heading into Friday’s visit to Florida Merrick had four schools standing out and he left thinking the same.

“It’s still the same four schools for me,” Merrick said. “Florida, Miami, South Carolina and Florida State. I’m thinking that I want to do it before the season.”

Many people including myself believed that there was a chance Merrick would commit on Friday and he says that, at times, he thought about it.

“Yeah of course it crossed my mind,” Merrick said about committing at Friday Night Lights. “I kind of had to keep myself still from doing that. I promised Miami that I would visit them and when I make my decision I want it to be the end.”

Merrick says that once he does make a commitment he wants it to be final and he believes it should truly mean a commitment.

“I think when you commit it should be like a marriage,” Merrick said. “I don’t want to be like some people and commit and then decommit in a couple of months.”


INSIDER TAKE: Florida is in great shape for Merrick and I honestly am surprised that he didn’t commit on Friday. I think Merrick will visit Miami and then decide and I think Florida should be good to go here. Merrick looked good on Friday night and will be good addition to the class.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.


  1. Merrick is an example of why UF is struggling mightily in recruiting right now. I can’t remember when UF failed to get even one guy to say yes after FNL. For Merrick to still even list FSU is extremely troubling. Merrick has said before that he likes Summer’s stlye, that he likes a more calm approach instead of a guy who gets in your face. Rick Trickett at FSU is the antithesis of Summers. He’s an ex-Marine who rides his players very hard. This tells me that recruits are very leery about UF right now, when you can’t even get a guy like Merrick to say yes.
    I bring this up because, with the exception of Brown, UF has had about everything go wrong recently. Four guys decommitted and the icing on the cake was when McCloud chose somebody else yesterday. I don’t think any of UF’s competitors have only seven commits. UF has only three from the state, even Clemson is doing better in Florida. Maybe it’s time to resign ourselves to the fact that UF’s only hope of salvaging this year’s class is to have a dramatic turnaround on the field, because, right now, whatever Muschamp is selling, no one’s buying.

    • Last year Florida only landed a junior at FNL and that guy was Davante Phillips who is no longer committed to Florida.