Richard Merritt was the first Maryland commit under the new reign of D.J. Durkin.
Merritt was also one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the 2016 class, but he still might find himself redshirting this fall.
Durkin arrived in College Park with a very tough task ahead of him. He had to sift through Randy Edsall‘s 2016 class and determine who would stay and who he would go after on the recruiting trail.
Merritt was a very interesting prospect with a ton of high-profile offers, but was still uncommitted. The Terrapins did offer Merritt back in 2014 and he visited campus several times.
Despite the early offer, Merritt appeared to be headed to Alabama because of his relationship with Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Abdul-Rahim was the head coach and founder of the football program at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington D.C.
Abdul-Rahim spent the last two seasons with the Crimson Tide, but took the defensive backs coach job at Maryland after Durkin was hired. Merritt’s relationship with Abdul-Rahim helped lure him to College Park.
Merritt was a huge get for the Terps.
According to 247Sports, Merritt was a four-star recruit that was rated No. 305 in their composite rankings. The Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) product was also rated as the 14th best offensive guard in the nation and the fourth-best player in the District.
Merritt is an absolute mauler on the offensive line due to his massive size (6’5/305 lbs.). He possesses the ability to play both guard and tackle as he displayed during his time at Archbishop Carroll.
Merritt’s physicality is extremely impressive to watch. More often than not, he ends up putting defensive linemen on the ground due to his absurd strength.
What’s even more impressive is that he was able to do it against WCAC powerhouse like DeMatha and St. John’s College.
Merritt was one of the most sought-after offensive linemen in the country in his class. He had 32 offers in total and could’ve gone to just about any school in the nation.
Obviously, Merritt is an extraordinary physical specimen. However, Maryland has a ton of depth on the offensive line, which will make it hard for Merritt to see playing time this season.
Maryland also has experience upper classmen at the guard spots with Mike Minter and Maurice Shelton being more than capable of starting.
It’s a good possibility that the only way Merritt sees the field is if he impresses during fall camp or there’s a rash of injuries.
When the former Archbishop Carroll standout does step onto the gridiron, he’s going to make quite the impact.