Three-star linebacker Dawson Merritt (2025 class) planned on visiting Ames last weekend for the Cy-Hawk football game, but things quickly changed the day before the game.
Merritt got a text on Friday from Iowa State linebackers coach Tyson Veidt saying to answer a phone call. He was about to receive his first Division 1 offer.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Merritt said. “So when he called me and put coach Campbell on the phone, I was really shocked. I mean, I think I’ve put in the work to earn it, but obviously it was definitely a shocking moment. It made Saturday even more fun for me.”
Merritt wasn’t anticipating an offer from the program, at least not in the moment.
It changed how he took in the Cy-Hawk game and the atmosphere at Jack Trice Stadium that he called, ‘Electric.’
“(It changed my perception) a lot,” Merritt said. “If I didn’t have that offer, I’d just be going to that game, not knowing what to expect and kind of just there for fun, I guess you could say. But coming in with the offer, I was really inspecting everything more seriously. I was just taking in everything – looking around a lot actually and just really gathering all of the information I needed about Iowa State.”
Merritt is rated as a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, and would fall near the top of Iowa State’s 2024 class with the recruiting site’s 87 rating.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker is ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect in his class from the state of Kansas, as well.
During Saturday’s game, Merritt paid close attention to the schematics of the Jon Heacock-led defense.
“Especially watching my position, I mean, which is a really versatile one – they fly everywhere around the field, you know,” Merritt said.
He kept an eye on redshirt freshman linebacker Carson Willich, who played in the linebacker position Iowa State is recruiting him for.
“Yeah, he was he was flying everywhere,” Merritt said. “I mean, it’s just like I said, a very versatile (position).”
The conversations with Iowa State’s staff have surrounded that, and how Merritt’s current season is going at Blue Valley High School in Kansas.
“We’ve just been talking about, you know, my season here at Blue Valley and what they would do with me (at Iowa State),” Merritt said. “Also, just the future of Iowa State and how great of a culture they have there.”
So far this season, Merritt is averaging seven tackles per game and has collected a team-high three sacks.