QB Matthew Merrick committed to the Longhorns on Friday, giving them their 19th commitment in the 2015 class. The 3 star from Cistercian Prep in DFW will likely greyshirt, thus counting against the 2016 class. His other offers were from Colorado State and Nevada, but he's considered a bit of a latecomer who hadn't yet fully dedicated himself to football. He's also a respectable AAU shooting guard and his basketball skills suggest he has the requisite athleticism to play QB once some time in the weight room gives him the football frame and strength to match his body control.
<a href="http://www.hudl.com/athlete/521042/highlights/162313377" >Merrick highlights tell us a few things. </a>
He appears to be a legit 6-2. He does a very nice job of keeping his eyes downfield under pressure. He scrambles to throw, but can pull it down to run when necessary. I don't think you need to worry about him housing a 60 yard zone read for a touchdown. He won't have burst or open field ability against real defenders, but he's a decent enough athlete to scamper for a first down if the field opens up and certainly athletic enough to execute Watson's roll and boot game. His arm is adequate, if unexceptional for the FBS level, but it may have room for major improvement as he specializes, gets a consistent delivery (he has a 3/4 release hitch on a couple of his throws) and adds 25+ pounds to his frame. Nice accuracy and has the ability to place the ball with anticipation on post routes with the defender trailing and to advantageous spots on deep balls outside of the hash where the defender can't make a play.
There's not much exceptional about Merrick's measurables by big boy football standards, but he has a really nice natural pocket presence given his lack of tutelage. At the college level, he'll have to earn his keep as an accurate, cerebral pocket passer. If you're looking for an upside recent comp, go find some footage of San Jose State's David Fales.
Merrick is our staff's developmental choice to flesh out a QB depth chart that has been a study in negligence since the Garrett Gilbert coronation failed later exacerbated by the prevailing sense among other QBs on the roster that Case McCoy had a special hold on Mack Brown and they'd never get an honest crack at #1, much less #2. Those days are clearly over.
A responsible QB recruiting model takes numbers, encourages competition and brings in both coveted prospects and projects to create some balance and continuity. Within that tension, you usually end up with a good QB, a seasoned back-up and the bright star in waiting - who you may actually be able to redshirt and develop longer-term instead of being thrown irresponsibly into the fire. If you're not taking at least 6 QBs in 4 years, you're not doing it right.
Merrick demonstrates the qualifying characteristics of what Watson seeks in his pupils: decent feet, some accuracy, an adequate arm, composure and a brain. Redshirt him, bring him along and see what the 6-2, 210 pound 4th year junior looks like after four years of all-football, all-the-time. He'll be well worth his scholarship if he becomes a solid program asset who can win the game if your #1 guy goes down. And his upside may be intriguing if his arm blossoms.