Sometimes life just isn't fair. At least it's not for defensive coordinators in the Pac-12 North.
They have to deal with Oregon's offense every year and every year the Ducks just keep replenishing the ridiculous skill talent they have with game-breaking speed. The latest player they are going to have to worry about defending against is 4 star athlete Kirk Merritt.
Merritt, Malik Lovette, and Taj Griffin will likely be haunting the dreams of everyone that is forced to try and tackle them over the next few years. What kind of player are the Ducks getting in the versatile Merritt?
Kirk Merritt - 4 star athlete
Merritt is not the tallest player, but he does have good size. He's solidly built and equipped to play at the college level right away. He has explosive athleticism that could help him project at several positions in the Ducks offense. It wouldn't be a shock to see him line up in the backfield, the slot, or even out wide.
He's a threat to score every time he touches the ball because of his great speed and tremendous lateral agility. He is strong enough to break tackles, but also shows the vision and the wiggle to make tacklers miss in the open field. He's a great player after the catch that doesn't need to a lot of room to do damage.
He's not the most natural receiver catching the football. He will go up and attack the ball in the air though. Despite him being under 6 feet, he can get up for the football like a player much taller than him. As a runner out the backfield, he has the feet to be effective zone runner, but he may be better utilized in more of a jet sweep type of action from the receiver position than him lining up as the primary back.
Even though Merritt is not an advanced route runner and will need to improve in this area, like many other young players, he may see the field early on for other reasons in addition to his big play potential. He flat out gets after it as a blocker. It's not often that blocking is an asset for a player who is as talented an athlete as Merritt. He's not a stereotypical speed player though. He flashes an awesome physical edge where he is looking to pancake cornerbacks on the outside.
If Merritt doesn't play on offense early on, that kind of effort as a blocker would serve him well in getting on the field on special teams, where he could also be another in the long line of candidates to return kicks for the Ducks. He's a fantastic pick up who should have a very bright future in the Pac-12.