Shane Mertz is the biggest of boys: 6'8 - !!! - and 295 pounds - !!!!!! That very well could make him the tallest player in Northwestern football history, but I don't feel like looking it up. And he's just five pounds off being the heaviest guy on the team. And he's No. 71, so we're gonna be profiling him today, and we're also cowering a bit in fear because JESUS. (Not cowering in fear because of Jesus -- we're Jewish, so we've already come to terms with the fact that if you guys are telling the truth we're in some serious trouble.)
was born to Andre the Giant and a beefier version of Gheorghe Muresan is from Hazlet (N.J.) Raritan, which, yo, why do people expect me to know where things in New Jersey are? Anyway, it looks like its nestled nicely under Staten Island, so his friends probably spend a lot of time in New York City getting me pissed off. Wait, what are we talking about here?
Oh, yeah, Shane Mertz. Mertz played offensive tackle in high school, because, duh, and was all-Division, all-Conference, all-County, and all-State his junior year for the Rockets. That earned three stars, nods as the No. 77 offensive tackle (although much higher in some services) and No. 20 player in New Jersey per 247's composite. He had 14 D-I offers, with the local squad in Rutgers offering, ACC teams in Virginia, BC, Duke, Maryland in the mix, rando teams like Louisville and West Virginia, and two B1G squads in Illinois and the Cats. He was interested in Maryland and Duke but pledged to Northwestern in the June before his senior year to ensure the Wildcats still had a spot for him.
Here's his highlight reel:
Yo, not enough NU recruit highlight reels are of the "epic music and lots of rewound videos of people getting trucked" variety, but this one definitely IS. They don't always circle him, but, yes, Mertz is the enormous left tackle absolutely drilling kids.
Now let's watch him and some people who look like children in comparison FLIP SOME TIRES:
I have never understood why that is a thing, but, good for them!
Mertz redshirted his freshman year, 2011, and was injured all of last year in his redshirt freshman year, although I can't quite figure out what the injury was.
Anagram of choice
Discovering the Wildcats true inner selves through spelling
Shane Mertz, anagrammed, is
Running on that little wheel all day may seem like the lowest of the lows: a life filled with tedium, exertion with no point, movement yet always staying still. But I argue the hamster has achieved a higher state: able to achieve satisfaction from its pointless daily task. May we all be able to achieve inner peace from our various wheels.
Is the hamster's zen not unlike that of the offensive lineman? We often turn to the quarterback and the running back and sing their praises, but to take solace in the trenches pushing and shoving and achieving successes and failures most fans never notice is beautiful.
Relevant musical selection
"Murray's Revenge", Murs
Murs is always one of those underground rappers that I feel I should be listening to more, but never get around to it. I mean, you can tell that just by listening, but then again, pretty much everybody would sound good rapping over 9th Wonder. I was gonna use L.A. -- "L-DOT A-DOT CALIFORNI-AY HOT" is such a good opener -- but this is probably more alluring for non-LA types like me.
How he can help
DUDE IS 6'8 295 YOU FRIGGIN DOLT!!!!!
As Inside NU wrote, that's his biggest asset right now and he's susceptible to be beat off speed rushes, but its still a damn big asset. Like, literally, a big asset.
We've sort of explained this already in our Eric Olson and Paul Jorgensen posts, but basically, Jorgensen and Mertz are battling for the right tackle spot. Whoever loses is probably going to end up as the backup at left tackle. We gave Jorgensen the starting spot at right tackle -- more experience, plus he follows the same footsteps of a trick play-turned-right tackle in Jack Konopka before him -- and think Mertz can use the year to turn his size into useful skill in a backup spot at left tackle. That said, Mertz could also beat Jorgensen for that starting right tackle spot. With injuries to other players in camp, he played first-team snaps in spring, and reportedly looked fine. Either way, expect him to see snaps.