Daniel wide receiver Eli Merck to Oklahoma football as preferred walk-on
D.W. Daniel all-time leader in receiving yards Eli Merck announced Wednesday he has committed to Oklahoma football as a preferred walk-on.
"I'm just so grateful for the opportunity that coach Venables gave me. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, it's something different. Not everybody from South Carolina gets to go to Oklahoma and play football. So, I'm just extremely blessed to be able to do it," Merck told the Herald-Journal.
Be Uncommon… Committed #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/7ieVKPF6rQ
— Eli Merck (@elimerck04) January 25, 2023
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Merck was one of the most productive receivers in the state of South Carolina during his career, catching 183 passes for 3,233 receiving yards — with three season of over 1,000 yards receiving — and 49 total touchdowns. He led Daniel to back-to-back undefeated Class AAA SCHSL state championship seasons.
Despite his production, Merck's recruitment wasn't filled with Power 5 opportunities, but instead with offers from area schools like Anderson University, Limestone College, Newberry College, Presbyterian College, and a preferred walk-on offer from Appalachian State.
"It's been slow, the recruiting process, but God has a plan and I've prayed about it, Oklahoma's the right fit ... and I'm happy for the opportunity to play there," Merck said.
Sooners coach Brent Venables, having spent 10 seasons as an assistant at Clemson, obviously has strong ties to Pickens County and according to Merck those connections, along with the others throughout the staff, was a factor in Merck's decision.
"In seventh, maybe sixth grade, I actually job shadowed Coach Venables up at Clemson. So it was super funny, I ended up showing him a picture of us together, when I was a kid, this past weekend during my visit," Merck said.
"He has a lot of of Clemson guys that went with him to Oklahoma. My offensive coordinator at Daniel, his son is actually out there as a defensive analyst, I think. So there's a lot of people there I know and I think that'll help me go out there and not feel overwhelmed ... it's just a great fit overall with coach Venables and the staff."
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Merck wants Oklahoma fans to know "they're going to get a hard working player, and a great person, with character and who's great teammate, that you can always count on to help out in any way."
"All the talk about the Hunter Renfrows or Baker Mayfields, all those guys who walked on and then showed their talent, I'm just going there to show them that I'm Eli," said Merck. "I'm not going to be like anybody else. I'm just going to go out there and do my thing, and hopefully they see my talent."
This article originally appeared on Herald-Journal: Daniel wide receiver Eli Merck to Oklahoma football as preferred walk-on