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Mercer is a Shining Star

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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In every recruiting cycle, certain players emerge relatively late in the process due to a variety of circumstances. Jeremiah Mercer is an exceptional playmaker who is poised to become one of those prospects in the very near future.

After being named as a first-team All-Region selection as a sophomore at South Effingham High School in Guyton, Georgia, 2015 athlete Jeremiah Mercer began to generate some positive traction on the recruiting front.

Starring as a two-way player for the Mustangs, Mercer quickly earned a reputation as one of the premier athletes in the “Coastal Empire” after registering 834 all-purpose yards, four touchdowns, 45 tackles and two interceptions as a tenth-grader. He also was a standout on special teams, serving as South Effingham’s starting punter and primary return specialist.

But despite his tremendous success as an underclassman at South Effingham, Mercer’s parents, who are both devout Christians, ultimately decided that they wanted their son to attend a private school which placed greater emphasis on religious principles and beliefs.

Based on those prerequisites, the Mercer’s enrolled their son at nearby Calvary Day School in Savannah. Known as one of the top private schools in the region, the Cavaliers not only had a storied tradition as an academic institution; they also possessed a powerhouse on the gridiron.

Led by recent Clemson signee Milan Richard, Calvary Day made it all the way to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to play for the GHSA Football A-Private state championship, a game in which they would ultimately fall short to Aquinas High School out of Augusta.

Unfortunately for Mercer, a unique sequence of events left him ineligible to participate in Calvary Day’s historic 2013 season.

“It’s just the transfer rules, basically,” Mercer commented of the reason for his ineligibility last fall. “When you transfer to a school in the middle of the year, there is pretty much a 50-50 chance of you being able to play. You go up to Atlanta and they either give you a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, and I got a ‘no’.”

Even with the knowledge that he would be ineligible to participate on the football field as a junior, the year which is generally regarded as the most important in the recruiting cycle, Mercer and his family felt compelled that the move to Calvary Day School would be the most beneficial move over the long-run.

Naturally, the inability to provide college programs with junior game film has slightly hindered Mercer’s recruitment, but it certainly has not kept schools from keeping in contact. He has had contact with programs from various regions of the country, including some interest from schools such as Mississippi State, Oregon, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

As he now begins to look forward to his final season as a prep athlete, Mercer has taken advantage of the camp and combine circuit to regenerate the buzz which he created at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign.

At the recent Explosive Southern Pigskin Camp held in Savannah, Mercer caught the eye of instructors very early on, turning in impressive times of 4.50 in the 40-yard dash and 4.09 in the shuttle.

Riding a wave of momentum off of his spectacular combine numbers, Mercer, a six-foot, 165-pound, athlete, would go on to have similar success in the individual drills. Though having not played a meaningful snap of football in well over a year, Mercer used his fluid athleticism to earn recognition as one of the top performers in the eyes of the coaches.

“I think I did pretty well,” Mercer said following the camp. “I’ve just got to get back into shape since I’ve been sitting out from sports for a year.”

Of course, Mercer will certainly need to be in elite shape for the start of the season, as Calvary Day will likely be looking to take full advantage of his versatility on Friday nights.

“I’m not really sure what my exact role is going to be this year,” Mercer continued. “Wherever my coach wants to put me, I am just going to go out there and play my hardest and try to shine for the team.”

Given his status as an elite athlete, there is little question that Mercer’s recruitment will take off once college program are able to see him in action in 2014.

Once that happens, he already has a firm grasp on what will be the biggest factor when it comes to making his collegiate decision.

“Whatever school has the best academics,” he remarked. “Without academics, you can’t survive.”

In every recruiting cycle, certain players emerge relatively late in the process due to a variety of circumstances. Jeremiah Mercer is an exceptional playmaker who is poised to become one of those prospects in the very near future.

College programs interested in picking up a late steal on the recruiting front should jump into the mix for his services before it is too late.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.