The Texas Longhorns have added to the offensive line class in the 2021 cycle after landing the signature of Houston Strake Jesuit offensive tackle Max Merril on Early Signing Day.
A consensus three-star prospect, the 6’4, 273-pounder is ranked as the No. 1,083 player nationally and the No. 95 offensive tackle nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Any discussion about Merril necessarily requires a discussion of how offensive tackle recruiting has gone in the 2021 class. No. 5 nationally prospect, Tommy Brockermeyer, the Texas legacy, committed to Alabama. Then offensive line coach Herb Hand targeted Ryan Lengyel, who committed to Baylor. After Lengyel, Hand offered Jack Leyrer, who committed to Stanford.
But before perceiving Texas as settling for Merril, it’s worth watching his film for any insights that may aid in projecting him with the Longhorns.
What Merril does exhibit is good balance and flexibility that make up for a lack of strength and mass. At times, it’s evident that Merril can sit in his cylinder, absorb contact, then throw out of his hips to displace defenders. There’s not much on his film in pass protection — not unusual for high school prospects — but he can get some movement when he has an angle on a defender and will keep his feet moving on contact.
One big question for Merril is whether he’s actually 6’4. Hand doesn’t prefer 330-pound interior players, so it’s possible that Merril can play inside if he’s not his listed height or doesn’t have a long reach, but his value decreases if he doesn’t have the height or reach to stay at tackle.