The spring evaluation period started last Tuesday which means college coaches around the country can make one phone call to juniors as well as visit them twice until May 31st.
Florida used its one allotted phone call last week for offensive lineman Jalen Merrick (6-5, 295, New Smyrna Beach, FL High) when three coaches talked to the talented offensive lineman.
“I talked to the whole coaching staff at Florida pretty much last week,” Merrick said. “I talked to Coach [Mike] Summers, Coach [Brad] Lawing and to Coach [Joker] Phillips. The conversations went really and they were just telling me that they were coming down to see me this spring and that they are still very interested in me. Coach Summers said he wished that I was able to come to the spring game two weeks ago but I couldn’t because of the ACT.”
Merrick is no stranger to Florida as a month ago the New Smyrna lineman and his father visited Gainesville and he liked what he saw from Gainesville.
“I went up there about a month ago for a visit and it was great and I loved it,” Merrick said. “I got to see the sports facilities and see a practice. It’s a great campus and the people there are really nice.”
When Merrick was on campus in Gainesville he got the chance to meet offensive line coach Mike Summers and he left impressed by his calm mentality.
“Coach Summers tells me that they want me at tackle but that I could also play guard because I’m an athletic guy,” Merrick said. “I like Coach Summers because he’s a straight forward coach and I respect that. He’s also a great coach and when he gets on a player he doesn’t yell at them but he just calmly tells them how to fix it.”
Also Merrick had the chance to watch the Gators go through a spring practice where he was able to see Kurt Roper’s offense in person.
“The new offense looks pretty good and I think they are going in the right direction,” Merrick said. “I think they will be a better team this year because of the offense. I think the players really fit into that offense better.”
This spring was light on visits for Merrick, with just three trips total, but this summer he plans to make the rounds to a few SEC schools.
“I visited Florida, USF and Miami this spring but I plan to visit a lot more schools this summer,” Merrick said. “I plan to get up to Florida for a camp too. Georgia and South Carolina call me a lot and they want me to visit this summer.”
Florida is expected to visit Merrick in person when spring practice starts for New Smyrna Beach on May 5th.