Hazlet (N.J.) Raritan offensive tackle Shane Mertz is one of the top line prospects in the region and he now knows where he will be spending the next few years of his life.
The 6-foot-7, 280-pound lineman has mulled over his offers and evaluated all of the colleges that were recruiting him. What school came out on top?
"I'm committed to Northwestern," Mertz said on Monday evening. "I definitely think the academics and the athletics are a perfect fit for me. I love the way they have everything set up. I felt really comfortable there on my visit this weekend.
"Coach Fitzgerald was the first coach I told (about the commitment) and he was really excited. Then I told my position coach and he was also really excited."
Mertz is ranked the No. 55 offensive tackle in the Class of 2011 and had received offers from Boston College, UConn, Duke, Illinois, Louisville, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia and a lot of others, so he is a big addition for the Wildcats.
"Duke, Rutgers, Boston College and Illinois were probably next on my list," Mertz said, listing the schools that came close but not close enough. "I was planning on visiting Boston College, Illinois and probably UConn, but after I went to Northwestern I knew it was the right fit and I didn't want to let it go."
Mertz said he is a solid verbal for Northwestern and will not change his mind.