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Sherwood's Merritt: Short on numbers, tall on attention

Sherwood senior running back-wide receiver Jamal Merritt won't likely appear in the Washington-area statistical leaders this season, but that doesn't mean college programs are ignoring him.

The 5-foot-11, 174-pound Merritt has scholarship offers from Rutgers, East Carolina and Ohio, to play receiver. That's where Merritt played the past two seasons for the Warriors, in addition to cornerback.

But this season, the Warriors needed to revamp their running game after leading rusher Cyrus Britt transferred to Seneca Valley. So Sherwood Coach Marc Thomas moved Merritt to the backfield, where, along with senior Dylan Hubbard, they alternate series as the featured back.

Merritt, who missed the first two games recovering from an offseason wrist injury, has come back to rush for 98 yards and three touchdowns in a pair of one-sided Sherwood victories. Defensively, he's been seeing time at safety instead of cornerback.

While Sherwood's 61 victories since the start of 2005 are more than any other Montgomery County program, the Warriors have not been churning out Division I college prospects. So when a recruit like Merritt comes along, it's reasonable to think he might let the attention go to his head, or at least ask for more touches on offense to improve his recruiting cache.

Thomas said that could not be further from the truth. He added that Merritt has handled the position switch for this season admirably, knowing he'll move back to wide receiver next year.

"He's been unbelievable," said Thomas, who took over the program in late July. "He told me at the beginning, 'Coach, I'll do anything for the team.' What more do you want from a kid?

"People are going to recruit him off his talent and film because he's not going to get big numbers with us. It's just the way our system works."

By Alan Goldenbach  | September 30, 2010; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  Football, Jamal Merritt  
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