It’s been three months since Blue Valley North quarterback Graham Mertz marched his team down the field for a final-minute touchdown to capture the program’s first Kansas Class 6A state championship.
The ensuing offseason has been anything but quiet.
Mertz has seen his recruiting stock skyrocket after his junior season, culminating in an offer from Alabama on Monday night.
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Mertz, who was named The Star’s All-Metro player of the year, committed to Wisconsin last October. But it hasn’t stopped schools from prying.
Mertz has received scholarship offers from LSU, Iowa, Miami, Iowa, Oklahoma State and Arizona State this month alone. He was offered by Missouri on Jan. 23. The full list also includes Kansas, Michigan, Ohio State, Georgia, Mississippi and Minnesota.
That’s not bad for a quarterback who has only one year of varsity experience. But it was a convincing one season. As a junior, Mertz threw for 3,684 yards and 45 touchdowns.
He saved his best performance for the Class 6A state championship game, where he finished 24 of 30 for 462 yards and four touchdowns in a win against Derby. He led a 97-yard scoring drive in the last minute, capping it with a 15-yard pylon-clipping touchdown to win the game. Blue Valley North had never previously appeared in a state title game.
“What you saw at the end was almost a different quarterback,” Blue Valley North coach Andy Sims told The Star after the season. “I think the biggest thing that should stand out to everybody — it was just his first year starting. … But he never let on.”
Mertz is ranked as the sixth-best pro-style quarterback on Rivals.com and the 217th best prospect in the 2019 class. He is the top-ranked overall player in the state of Kansas.