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Richard Merritt commits to Maryland: Terps land 4-star offensive guard

An enormous pickup for DJ Durkin and his staff.

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Four-star Washington guard Richard Merritt has committed to play his college football at Maryland, he announced on Friday. The blue-chip offensive lineman is one of Maryland's most surprising, impressive recruiting grabs in years.

Merritt is rated as the 10th-best guard in the 2016 class by 247Sports and the No. 3 player in the District. He previously played at Friendship Collegiate Academy under Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, whom Maryland hired this month as defensive backs coach. He's currently at Archbishop Carroll. He's the first public commitment at Maryland under new head coach DJ Durkin.

"Merritt is a talented guard," said Bud Elliott, SB Nation's national recruiting director. "If he can re-shape his body a bit I think it could pay dividends in the form of him being a multi-year starter in the Big Ten."

Merritt is an enormous 6'5 and 345 pounds, and had offers from a long list of national powers. All four College Football Playoff teams offered him, as did Ohio State, Florida State, Georgia and dozens more programs. Merritt could've played virtually anywhere, so it's a serious feather in Maryland's cap to have landed him.

By the 247Sports Composite, Merritt becomes the third-best prospect in Maryland's 2016 class, only behind elite quarterback Dwayne Haskins and linebacker Keandre Jones. He's Maryland's second local four-star guard recruit in two years, as the Terps added Quarvez Boulware – also a Friendship alum – in last year's class.

Merritt is teammates at Archbishop Carroll with another blue-chipper, four-star offensive tackle Jauan Williams. He's said the two of them will be a recruiting "package deal."