Wisconsin Signing Class Preview - Graham Mertz

Wisconsin Signing Class Preview - Graham Mertz

Recruiting

Wisconsin Signing Class Preview - Graham Mertz

MADISON, Wis. – With the early signing period for high school football players beginning on December 19, Badgers Insider takes a closer look at the recruits expected to sign with the University of Wisconsin.

In this edition, we examine Overland Park (KS) Blue Valley North quarterback Graham Mertz.

Senior Season

Mertz led Blue Valley North to a runner-up finish in Kansas Class 6A, completing 238 of 382 passes for 3,883 yards and 51 touchdowns, the latter setting a new state record. He made it look easier than it was. The Mustangs had to replace 20 of 22 starters from their 2017 championship team and started the season 0-3. Mertz also suffered a strained MCL on a questionably-low tackle that caused him to miss time. He never fully got back to 100 percent but still dazzled, including throwing for 11 touchdowns and rushing for another in back-to-back weeks in the playoffs.

An Army All-American, Mertz was also an Elite 11 quarterback, the Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year and recognized as the top football player in the Kansas City area, the first Kansan to win the award since 2010.

Skill Set

It feels like Mertz’s game has been dissected constantly over the last year. Bottom line is that he is a big presence in the pocket with a strong arm. He’s extremely polished with his fundamentals, the ability to complete passes to all three levels of the defense and vary his throws, knowing when to put a little touch on a pass to lead a receiver and when to zip a pass to thread the needle. He didn’t run as much this year with his knee injury, but he has the ability to make plays on the run or tuck the ball to make a play for his offense.

The biggest thing Mertz will have to adjust to is taking snaps under center, as he primarily played out of the shotgun. Footwork will be a big thing for him, as with learning college defenses, coverages and schemes. This will all come with time.

Time and again, people laud Mertz for his strong competitive nature and his leadership qualities, two essential things that any great quarterback needs that he has.

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