Third on the depth chart and with little hope of climbing any higher, Matthew Merrick has decided to shift his focus to the first part of the word “student-athlete.”
Texas announced via a press release that Merrick has decided to leave the Longhorns football program and focus on his academics at the university. At some point in the future, particularly if an opportunity presents itself, either at UT or elsewhere, Merrick will reevaluate his prospects in the sport.
“I had a great talk with [offensive coordinator Tim] Beck, who was willing to help me with whatever I decided to do,” a statement from Merrick began. “After discussing it with my family, I’ve decided to step away from the football team and focus on my academics at UT. If an opportunity in football were to present itself in the future, that’s something I would consider, but for now, I believe it’s best to strengthen my academics as much as possible.
“I want to thank all of my teammates, the staff, Coach Beck and [head coach Tom] Herman for their support, and I appreciate all of the relationships I’ve built during my time with the team. I’ll always consider myself a Longhorn and will be rooting them on in the future.”
Merrick was the Longhorns’ No. 3 quarterback, behind starter Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger. A walk-on, Josh Covery, is also on the roster.
Jerrod Heard had moved to wide receiver earlier this offseason; it’s unclear if this development will ultimately lead him back under center, although that’s not a direction the program will head toward at the moment. The Longhorns are also pursuing LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris.
A three-star 2015 signee, Merrick was rated as the No. 56 pro-style quarterback in the country that year. He took a redshirt as a true freshman, then didn’t see the field in 2016. In the fall of 2015, though, he was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.