July 22, 2024

Priority ‘WOLF’ target Dawson Merritt commits to Alabama over Nebraska

Kalen DeBoer and the Alabama staff continue to roll on the recruiting trail.

Dawson Merritt has committed to the Crimson Tide over Nebraska, Bama247 confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.

“When it came down to it if I want to be the best, I have to compete against the best and we’re going to have the best class in the nation so why would I go anywhere else?” he explained the decision with Bama247.

The four-star recruit and priority ‘WOLF’ target took an official visit to Alabama June 7-9, which marked the third time on campus for the No. 6 ranked linebacker in the country. 

“It was great,” Merritt told Bama247 after the trip. “I had a great time. All of my questions were definitely answered. I’m happy with where Alabama stands right now. The vibe was definitely picked up. Just the sense of urgency and locked in that I feel from the players is just different than anywhere I have been. They are ready to win.”

NATIONAL ANALYSIS: Four-star LB commit Dawson Merritt ‘a perfect fit’ in Alabama defense

COACH’S TAKE: Alabama commit Dawson Merritt is ‘very special’ on and off the field

The Blue Valley (KS) High School prospect was offered by the new staff in February, he took a “top notch” first-ever visit in March and returned in April to spend more time with the coaches. The close relationships with DeBoer and general manager Courtney Morgan played a major role in the decision and was continually brought up throughout the spring. 

“It was almost like a family reunion,” Merritt told Bama247 after the most recent trip. “It was very laid back. What you kind of see on these visits, at least for me, I wouldn’t say conversations are forced, but you feel like what you say has to be right, but with this staff, I definitely got very comfortable. I am 100% myself at all times.”

“I know (DeBoer) is a great guy and a great coach. I really believe everything he says, believe everything he preaches. He knows what he’s talking about and Alabama is going to be Alabama.”

(Photo: Dawson Merritt)

Merritt will play the ‘WOLF’ position in the Kane Wommack defense, which was also a major selling point for the elite defender.

“Something that I have preached throughout this process is I want to be used like I am at my school now, like a versatile player,” he has told Bama247. “That position is so versatile, whether it is on the ball or off the ball, or however they need to use me, I love the position that they have there for me.”

“Coach Wommack is amazing,” Merritt said after the trip. “His defense that he is running, I think would suit me very well. It was just great learning more about what he is doing there.”

His position coach, Christian Robinson, helped Merritt become even more comfortable with the decision too. The two sat down for several hours between the multiple visits to learn more about the defense and what his role will be. 

“One of the best (relationships) I have had throughout this process,” he previously said. “He’s a great teacher, for sure. I’d say that’s his best trait. He knows how to really connect with his players.”

Merritt is the ninth to commit to the Alabama staff after his official visit joining Keelon Russell, Chuck McDonald, Michael Carroll, Mal Waldrep, Jackson Lloyd, Alex Asparuhov, London Simmons and Micah DeBose.

Alabama’s 2025 class now ranks No. 2 in the country with 19 commits, per the 247Sports Team Rankings.

(Photo: Dawson Merritt)

Merritt was excellent in his junior season tallying 83 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovers. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is the No. 62 prospect in the country and No. 3 player in Kansas, per the Top247 Player Rankings. 

Scouting Report Via Allen Trieu

“Long, athletic linebacker prospect who can play a variety of roles within a defense. Used in high school as a stand-up outside edge rusher and shows quickness off the snap, fluidity, bend and closing speed. Also showed he could drop into space and be an asset in coverage. Plays with good discipline and control. Has good change of direction and can stay with ball carriers looking to put a move on him. Has to fill in and get stronger but has the frame to do so. 3-4 outside linebacker is a possibility as well as SAM backer in other schemes. Projects as a high-impact player at a major program based on length, versatility, feel for the game and overall athletic talent.”

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