Spend some time with Tarpon Springs senior receiver, No. 52 in our HomeTeam 100 (see Nos. 51-60 here):
2011 stats: 15 carries, 243 yards rushing, two TDs; 57 receptions, 1021 yards receiving, four TDs
The breakdown: The college recruiters have all stopped by to size up the kid with sure hands and playmaking ability, and while they leave impressed they are also uninterested because of these numbers:
5-foot-6, 145 pounds.
But Kenyatta Merriex just shrugs, and answers with a few numbers of his own, like back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and a third straight on his schedule for 2012.
"That's been my goal; 1,000 yards is a big deal,'' said the Spongers senior. "It's a very big deal. I think it shows people that I can play, and might be something that recruiters look at."
Don't be fooled by Merriex's stature, says coach Ron Hawn. Merriex isn't blazingly fast, but he's quick and goes from 0-to-60 in one step, and his toughness is underappreciated.
"He's strong as a bull. He is freakishly strong,'' Hawn said. In the offseason, Merriex dead lifted 425 pounds, third best on the team.
That's how he handles the heavy load he's expected to carry at Tarpon. Merriex will see time in the backfield, slot and for the first time, as a safety. "If we wanted him to play the defensive line, he'd get it done,'' Hawn said.
Merriex is ready for the challenge. He is a team captain this season, and says he is leading by example in the weight room and study
"I look at it like I might be small, but I make big-time plays,'' he said. "I play just as well as everybody else does."
On the field, he has already proven he belongs. But that's no longer enough for Merriex.