Four-star quarterback Graham Mertz announced he plans to sign with Wisconsin on Wednesday during the early signing period.
The Wisconsin football program is many things, but being great at recruiting is not one of them. It’s not something they earn national recognition for, anyway. After last season’s undefeated run to the Big Ten title game and thrilling win over Miami in the Orange Bowl, things looked like they were turning around. The Badgers started earning commitments from big-time recruits.
The face of the Class of 2019 is Graham Mertz, a four-star quarterback from Mission, Kansas whose 247 recruiting profile still lists Ohio State and Minnesota as the favorites to ultimately land Mertz. His meteoric rise from a junior last year to a top 100 player as a senior was something only Wisconsin got out in front of. The relationship Mertz developed with the Wisconsin coaching staff proved to be what mattered most.
Offers from powerhouse programs like Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and many, many more rolled in, but Mertz never flinched. Then Mertz did something that calmed Badger fans. He shut down his recruitment at what felt like the height of it all. He announced he was focusing on his senior season of football and owed it to his teammates and the Unversity of Wisconsin to no longer talk with other coaches trying to recruit him.
We’ll never know exactly what other coaches continued recruiting Mertz, but nothing ever came up but good news from Mertz and pro-Wisconsin tweets on his Twitter account. Still, signing day couldn’t come soon enough.
This morning, two days before the early signing period begins when 2019 recruits can start signing letters of intent to the programs they committed to, Mertz essentially finalized his recruiting via his Twitter account. In hindsight, there was never any reason to doubt that Mertz would eventually be a Badger. It just always felt too good to be true.
Mertz isn’t the only Wisconsin commit that will remain pledged to Wisconsin through signing day, and many other recruits have maintained loyalty to their original commitments. What makes Mertz special and different is the fact that he’s the most high-profile recruit Wisconsin has had in years, and maybe ever. At a time when Wisconsin has felt like it was ‘just a quarterback away,’ Mertz chose the Badgers and stuck with the Badgers.
Mertz was a perfect recruit for Wisconsin and he has done everything to keep the hype train rolling. Mertz will sign his letter of intent with Wisconsin Wednesday, per his Twitter account, and plans to enroll early next semester so he can get a head start on learning the offense.