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Penn State Football Recruiting

‘It was Great’: Top-Ranked ‘26 IOL Tyler Merrill Impressed After Most Recent Penn State Visit

A lot has changed for Tyler Merrill since Penn State offered him in May.

Back then, Merrill only had one college football season under his belt and only about a handful of Power Five offers.

Now, he’s listed by 247Sports’ composite rankings as the top interior offensive lineman in the ‘26 Class.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder is also listed by 247 as the No. 3 overall player in Pennsylvania and the 65th-ranked player nationally. Along with PSU, he has offers from 13 other schools, including Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Pitt, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Syracuse and West Virginia.

So what are the best and worst things about having all this attention?

“The best is to have so many great schools to choose from and to just know I have options,” Merrill told Nittany Sports Now via direct message. “The worst is I really don’t like the attention.”

Why doesn’t he like the attention?

“Football is a team sport”, he said, “and especially as a lineman, it’s always about the team, never just me.”

Merrill has visited Penn State multiple times and returned to Happy Valley this past weekend for Penn State’s first Junior Day of 2024, and he enjoyed himself.

“It was great,” he said. “Always easy to talk to all the coaches there. I like it better than gamedays because you can really spend time with the coaching staff. Also to learn about the academic side and what college life is.”

Merrill spent time talking with offensive line coach Phil Trautwein and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelniki, as well as Ty Howle, the tight ends coach who recruits Pennsylvania heavily.

Kotelniki played center at Wisconsin-River Falls in the early 2000s, a fact which Merrill appreciated.

“I found out he used to be a lineman,” Merrill said. “So that’s cool. He is a smart guy and I thought it was cool he took time to talk to the o-line room.”

This past season, Merrill helped his high school, Cumberland Valley, to a district quarterfinal appearance. He was pleased with how the year went both from a team and individual standpoint.

“We had a great season,” he said. “I would say I improved across the board, but mostly in my second-level run blocking.”

Merrill doesn’t have his exact top schools mapped out yet, but told NSN he pictures Penn State being in the mix when the time comes to narrow it down.

He also said he plans on going back to State College for a camp this summer.

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