Another day, another headline I’d never imagined I’d ever write.
According to the Houston Chronicle‘s Brent Zwerneman, Texas A&M wide receiver Kirk Merritt pleaded not guilty late last month to a pair of indecent exposure charges. The charges stem from a pair of incidents from last October, and allegedly involve Merritt exposing himself to female academic tutors.
From Zwerneman’s report:
In one count, an alleged victim accused Merritt of exposing and touching himself “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her “on or about” Oct. 24. About a day later according to a court document, another alleged victim claimed Merritt pulled down his shorts and held himself also “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her. The document describes both alleged victims as “offended or alarmed by the act of exposure.”
Both of the victims were tutors at A&M, a person with knowledge of the case said.
The university has yet to comment publicly on the development. Merritt, the Chronicle notes, has been participating in A&M’s spring practice.
Merritt had announced last June that he would be transferring from Oregon because of what he described as unspecified “family situations back home” in Louisiana. The next month, the receiver announced he would be transferring to A&M.
To satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Merritt sat out the 2016 season. Counting this season, he has three years of eligibility remaining.
A four-star 2015 recruit, Merritt was rated as the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Louisiana. Playing in 12 games as a true freshman, Merritt caught five passes for 61 yards. He added another 13 yards on three carries.
Texas A&M wide receiver Speedy Noil has made his decision, and it will no longer include playing for the Aggies. Noil announced, via Twitter, he will be declaring for the NFL Draft and leaving College Station behind a year early.
Noil joins fellow Aggie wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones in declaring early for the NFL Draft. Seals-Jones made his intention public last week. Texas A&M’s returning wide receiver unit is taking some hits through attrition between early departures and graduation. Christian Kirk is, for the moment, the only player returning who has had any impact in the passing game in 2017.
Noil appeared in nine games for the Aggies in 2016, in which he caught 21 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Noil, a five-star recruit out of high school in Texas A&M’s Class of 2014 showed great promise in his freshman season with 46 catches for 583 yards and five touchdowns, but the previous two seasons combined saw fewer receiving yards (551 yards) and fewer touchdowns (four) and more games missed due to suspension. The most recent suspension came last month as Texas A&M suspended Noil for the Aggies’ bowl game following an arrest for marijuana possession. It was Noil’s second arrest and third suspension in 13 months.
As he enters the rigors of the NFL Draft process, these are issues he will most certainly have to address in meetings and interviews with NFL representatives, but if he has cleaned up his act for the better and long-term, some NFL team may be getting a zippy wide receiver to throw into their offense or special teams unit.
Wednesday night, Ricky Seals-Jones caught his first touchdown pass of the season in Texas A&M’s loss to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl. A day later, he’s ensured it’ll be his last at the collegiate level.
On social media Thursday afternoon, the wide receiver confirmed that he will be leaving the Aggies early and making himself available for the 2017 NFL draft. “Thank you 12th Man. I will always be a Texas Fighting Aggie!” Seals-Jones wrote.
A five-star 2012 signee, Seals-Jones’ production never could quite match the recruiting hype.
In his Aggie career, Seals-Jones caught 123 passes for 1,442 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had season-highs in receptions (49) in 2014 and receiving yards (560) in 2015. This season, he was third on the team with 26 receptions for 333 yards.
As a physical specimen, though, the 6-5, 240-pound receiver is likely to draw significant interest at the next level despite not possessing eye-popping statistics.
Texas A&M and Kansas State played some classics when the two programs were in the Big 12. Even though they entered this year’s Texas Bowl in different leagues, they apparently didn’t mind adding another wild one to series history on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats used several big plays and a few timely defensive stops to survive a late surge by the Aggies and held on to win in vintage Bill Snyder fashion 33-28 down in Houston.
Quarterback Jesse Ertz turned in one of his best performances of the year with his arm in throwing for 195 yards, including one beautiful touchdown pass to speedster Byron Pringle. The signal-caller also wasn’t too shabby in terms of running the ball either with 67 yards on the ground and a pair of scores to finish just behind Justin Silmon (77 yards on 10 carries) for the game.
Texas A&M struck first in the bowl by marching 75 yards on the opening drive to make things look easy. It turned out that was just an aberration as points and yards were hard to come by after that thanks to a stingy KSU defense. Quarterback Trevor Knight finished with 310 yards, a score and an interception to nearly rally the Aggies to a fourth quarter comeback but had his pass fall just short on fourth down to end the late threat.
Wideout Josh Reynolds had a program bowl record 12 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns to pace the passing game for A&M, which also included some ridiculous catches from Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones as well. In the end it wasn’t enough though, and completes another disappointing late-season slide under coach Kevin Sumlin once again after going as high as No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff standings earlier in the year.
On the flip side, the victory by Kansas State caps an impressive season in the Little Apple thanks to Snyder and company. The program nearly ran the table against the old SWC and beat five different teams from the state of Texas in 2016 to once again hit the nine win plateau in another remarkable campaign by the Wildcats.
Big plays on both sides highlighted a fun first half in the Texas Bowl between old Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Texas A&M as the Wildcats took a 23-14 lead into halftime.
Keith Ford punched it into the end zone from seven yards out to kick off scoring for the Aggies after a 75-yard scoring drive to open the game. While things may have looked easy for Kevin Sumlin’s crew after that kind of impressive start, things would be anything but following that drive as quarterback Trevor Knight was under pressure most of the night. A pair of remarkable catches by Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones midway through the second quarter would give A&M another score and a brief lead but that was otherwise it for a sputtering offense.
Kansas State would not back down when trailing however, thanks mostly to the improved passing of signal-caller Jesse Ertz. He tossed a perfect strike into the arms of Byron Pringle in the closing seconds of the first quarter for a 79 yard touchdown and scored using his legs to cap off a 55 yard drive not long after. Dominique Heath also got into the scoring action by taking a jet sweep 52 yards around the edge to the end zone to extend KSU’s margin on the scoreboard.
Everybody wondered which team would come into this game motivated to win it and it’s pretty clear that Bill Snyder’s squad checks off that box after one half of play. The Aggies are plenty capable of mounting a huge comeback given some of the weapons they have on offense and may have regained a little momentum heading into the locker room after a nice fourth down stand at the end of the half.