Things have not gone as well as they expected on the field this season for Akron (Ohio) Garfield three-star defensive end Whitney Mercilus.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound two-way star said it doesn't look like Garfield will make the state playoffs and a tough 41-34 loss to Firestone on Friday night really put a damper on a tough few weeks. But Mercilus said he's continued to play hard and now he's starting to look forward to his future in college.
"It's been a tough year for us," Mercilus, who also stars at tight end for Garfield, said. "But we're fighting through everything. I have like six touchdowns on offense and I'm leading the team in quarterback pressures and sacks. We're improving every game out there, but we're not quite able to get over the hump. I don't think we're going to make the playoffs, but we're going to keep working hard the final few weeks.
"I still have a lot to play for. I have to keep going out there and impressing people."
He's definitely done a great job of doing that.
Already ranked as the No. 22 player in Ohio and the No. 13 weakside defensive end in the nation, Mercilus has scholarship offers from teams like Illinois, Kansas, Purdue, Michigan State, Akron, Bowling Green, Syracuse, Boston College and Cincinnati. He said others like West Virginia also look like they're close to offering him.
"They told me they liked what they saw on film, and they could be offering me really soon," Mercilus said. "I know Michigan State offered me when they came by the school a little while back."
But at this point it looks like Illinois is the team to beat.
"I'm definitely going to visit Illinois," Mercilus said. "They want me to come up there the first weekend in December. I just talked to Eric Wolford today. He was telling me about their big win over Wisconsin. He was real excited. I've watched them play this season, and I've been very impressed.
"I also like how coach Wolford tells me the real deal. He's a real cool guy. He talks to me about how things would be like there at Illinois, and that's something that I like to hear about."