The list of successful Texas high school quarterbacks from Highland Park runs deep and wide from Bobby Layne to Matthew Stafford and includes a notable list of players who have helped the affluent Dallas neighborhood compile 19-consecutive state playoff appearances and a record-setting 55 berths dating back to 1924.
Now the list adds Cistercian quarterback Matthew Merrick. An HP resident who attends the highly rated academic school in Irving is a second-year starting quarterback who promises to be one of the top prospects for the Class of 2015.
The 6-3 Merrick is just coming into his own while leading Cistercian to a second-consecutive post-season berth. Merrick has developed most athletically while playing for the high-profile Texas Titans basketball program.
His athleticism may project him better as a major college football quarterback prospect rather than as a 6-3 shooting guard. Merrick increased interest in football has his arm strength and accuracy improving daily.
As Merrick continues to work with quarterback guru Kevin Murray, the spotlight on Merrick will increase from the early interest and evaluations from Virginia, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Northwestern and Ivy League schools.
Murray has worked many of Texas' top quarterbacks including Fort Worth All Saints' Foster Sawyer, a Class of '14 TCU commit or former Allen quarterback Alec Morris, who is heir apparent to Alabama starter AJ McCarron.
Murray's son, Kyler Murray, also already is rated as a top 2015 quarterback prospect with offers from around the country including Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Ohio State, Arizona State, Texas Tech, California and more after leading Allen to a Class 5A Division state title as a sophomore and continuing to post record-setting numbers this season.
But it is his latest find in Merrick which has Murray brimming with enthusiasm.
"Once we get Matthew into the Nike and Rivals camps this spring, people are really going to take notice," Murray said. "He's where a lot of quarterbacks are now, but he's just starting."
Merrick's father Nick is a former UVA receiver from successful Cavalier teams of the 1980s under George Welsh. The Merricks have been instrumental in the Titans becoming a nationally know youth basketball program which last year featured Kentucky signee Julius Randle.
In the Class of 2015, no one would have been surprised if a Titans' player would have become a national football prospect, but the conventional thinking would have been 6-7 Mickey Mitchell.
But a knee injury has the athletic Mitchell concentrating on basketball for his junior season at Plano West after building an early reputation as a promising, big, athletic dual-threat quarterback in youth football and a freshman season at Prestonwood Christian. Mitchell has committed to Ohio State where his brother Mike Mitchell is a freshman footballer.
But it is Merrick who is the rising football star from a well-know basketball incubator. He's taking a different path from most Highland Park quarterbacks as well but the end result likely will be another successful name to the distinguished list.