Duke added an eleventh member to its recruiting class of 2021 when three-star defensive back Dylan Merrell announced he would play for the Blue Devils in college. The six-foot, 172-pounder out of Alpharetta, Georgia is ranked No. 765 in the class by 247Sports, who also has him No. 62 at cornerback and No. 67 in Georgia.
Rivals categorizes Merrell as a safety and has him ranked No. 44 at the position and No. 70 in the state.
He announced his commitment on Twitter on Friday afternoon, in a post thanking his coaches and calling them “my backbone.” He also called his mother a “shining beacon of light in my life.”
Duke was the first to offer Merrell a scholarship. The Blue Devils have since been joined by Boston College, Indiana, Wake Forest, Oklahoma and Tennessee in reaching out to him. He visited Duke for three games this past season and was impressed by the family atmosphere and how enthusiastic the players were.
Merrell played both ways for Alpharetta last year. He gained 476 rushing yards at running back, scoring three times. He also had 10 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. The majority of his high school highlight reel features him as a ball carrier, using speed and elusiveness to produce long gains.
He’s also a two-sport athlete, using that speed on the track and field team at Alpharetta. He claims a 4.5 second time in the 40.
Assuming he plays cornerback at the next level, Merrell joins Joshua Pickett and Brandon Johnson as corners in Duke’s 2021 recruiting class.