Regional Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons spent the second half of last week on the road in South…
South Showcase MVP: Josh Mercer
Mercer is already drawing some interest from some several BCS programs, and by next fall he'll likely appear on many other programs' recruiting board. He has made an impact for South Effingham since day one of his freshman year. As a sophomore, he was one of the top players in his 4A region.
"I made the First Team All-Region last year as a running back," Josh Mercer said. "On offense I finished the season with about 900 yards rushing in 10 games. I averaged 5.1 yards a carry. I had nine rushing touchdowns. I had 12 catches for 116 yards.
"I played some at free safety when we went against passing teams. I had about five pass breakups on the season. I probably had around 15 tackles.
"I've been a starter ever since my freshman year. My freshman year I had 576 yards rushing. I led our team with 14 catches for 160 yards. I had three rushing touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown."
Mercer has already shown that he has all the physical tools to play on the next level.
"I was the running back MVP at the National Underclassmen Combine," he said. "I won the fastest man award at the combine. I won the Skills Challenge MVP. And our 7-on-7 team won the tournament at the combine. I ran 4.42 in the forty. My shuttle was 4.3. I broad jumped nine feet.
"And at the South Showcase Combine I was the overall MVP. I ran 4.38 in the 40. I believe the shuttle was a 3.9 (seconds) something. My vertical was around 31 inches. And my broad jump was over nine feet.
"In the football drills (South Showcase Combine) I pretty much caught everything that was thrown to me. My dad said I looked really sharp out there. I made a leaping catch on one throw. I feel like I had a really good day."
Several programs already have Mercer on their recruiting board.
"I've received a couple of letters so far," he commented. "I'm getting a lot of mail from Missouri. Georgia has sent me a good bit of stuff and so has Georgia Tech. Missouri seems the most interested right now."
This Southeast Georgia speedster is willing to play anywhere in the country. He has some early leaders from all over the map.
"My leading schools are Auburn, USC, Georgia, Florida, and Oregon," he said. "Auburn is my top school. I like how they play. They all look big, and they all look like they're having fun on the field.
"As far as location goes, I'd be willing to play anywhere. I'm just looking to play football. I wouldn't mind playing for a school like USC. Actually, I'd love to go to USC."
Mercer believes there are three things that bring him success on the gridiron.
"I think my leadership is my best quality," he commened. "And my vision and explosion are my two strengths as a runner. I can find a hole and get through it quickly."
The Savannah, Ga. native is confident he has what it takes to play at the major collegiate level. He feels that he needs to improve in just one area.
"I have the speed right now now," he said. "I just need to work on my strength. I feel like I'm only gonna get stronger over the next two seasons. By my senior year I'd like to weigh about 200 pounds. I think at that weight I'll be ready for college football. I definitely think I have what it takes to play early in college."
At 5-10.5 and 175 pounds, with speed, some programs may be tempted to see what Mercer can do as a defensive back. Mercer believes his skills are more suited for the offensive side of the ball.
"I see myself as an offensive player in college," he said. "I feel like my skills are more useful as a running back. I'm a good receiver out of the backfield, too. I definitely think I'm a running back prospect, and an offensive player in college."
Mercer has three camps in mind for the summer. "I'm going to a Georgia camp this summer," he said. "I haven't planned for any other camps yet. I'll probably go to Florida and Auburn."
Mercer currently has the second fastest 100-meter in the nation for all sophomores. He has some very big goals for track as well.
"The region meet will come up next week," he said. "I wanna win region and get to state. I ran 10.66 (seconds) last week in the 100 (meters). It's the fourth fastest time in the state. My goal is to run in the 10.4 (seconds) area this year. My goal by the time I graduate is to run in the low 10 second area, and to be the fastest 100 meter runner in the nation."
Josh Mercer reports he is an honor roll student and should not have any trouble qualifying. Recruiting fans will hear more and more about this explosive athlete in the months to come.
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