Don’t Overhype Graham Mertz Before Snap One
I can see it now. Wisconsin Badgers fans will be watching tonight’s Alabama-Clemson game and see true freshman Trevor Lawrence playing quarterback for Clemson. There will be Badgers fans saying ‘Well, this could be us next year.’ It doesn’t work that way. Lawrence is a special breed, and Clemson is a special team. From the looks of it, Mertz will have a ton of hype coming to Wisconsin this Fall, but people should relax on expecting him to start with the first team on week two of training camp. Fans will have to be patient with Mertz, which, might be the hardest thing to do in sports culture today.
Blue Valley North's Graham Mertz had himself a DAY at the All-American Bowl
–Game record 5 TD passes on just 7 completions
–Awarded MVP trophy before game even ends
–Team wins 48-17
— CatchItKansas (@CatchItKansas) January 5, 2019
Watching this video is like porn to the Badger faithful. There have been big names to come through this program on name alone, but this is the biggest. Wisconsin has never had a quarterback in a High School All-American game, and to have him light it up is whole other thing. With Wisconsin’s quarterback struggles this season, you can guarantee fans will want Mertz to start at quarterback when Wisconsin heads to South Florida. But what needs to be understood is it’s not an easy thing to take over the starting job right away.
It’s rare to see a true freshman start in college football. It’s even more rare to see a true freshman start at quarterback to begin the season. There are too many things needed from a quarterback that it takes awhile to develop those things. The only way Mertz gets the football as a starter in early September would be injury-related. Paul Chryst is not a big media guy, so, my assumption is he’ll have no issue shaking off the fans and the media asking him about the young freshman. There’s no question Mertz will be a topic of conversation, but at the end of the day, he’s going to begin the year on the bench.
Look at Lawrence as an example. He did not start until the Syracuse game, although, he did play some snaps in the first few games of the season. Paul Chryst doesn’t seem to be down with the two quarterback philosophy. Jack Coan will likely get the ball first if you’re assuming Alex Horinbrook’s career is done with concussions. Coan will get his chances, but Mertz hangs in the balance. Jonathan Taylor is a huge lift to the kid from Kansas. That makes life a helluva lot easier when you have a Heisman candidate in your backfield.
We’ll see what next year brings, but Mertz showed us the best might be yet to come.