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Martinez: Announcement a special day for Merriweather family

High school sports

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:
2 Photos
Tobias Merriweather, center, is joined by his mother, Beverly Merriweather, as he announces his college choice.
Tobias Merriweather, center, is joined by his mother, Beverly Merriweather, as he announces his college choice. August 4 is Beverly Merriweather's birthday (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

It’s been a long journey through the recruiting process for Union’s Tobias Merriweather.

And all along the way, his father has been right by his side.

“I told him ‘if you want to be great, I will support you all the way, do whatever I can,’ ” Dom Merriweather said.

The two have been so close during the recruiting process that sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart.

“We’ve met some wonderful people along the way,” Dom Merriweather said. “But you also meet people who just want to get in your ear. And Tobias is like me. We are quiet guys. So I wanted to be that kind of buffer for him, so he could just focus on being a kid.

“Like on Twitter. If you see Tobias tweet something, that’s me.”

On Wednesday, it was Tobias Merriweather’s time to take full control of his own spotlight.

Surrounded by family and friends as well as in front of a national audience on cbssports.com, the Union senior made his college plans known.

“First off, I’d like to start by thanking God for giving me this opportunity, putting me in this position,” Tobias Merriweather said. “Secondly, I’d to thank all the people that have helped me on this journey — my family, my friends, everyone here today in the auditorium, for being there by my side, keeping the pressure off me and making me feel like a normal kid.

“That being said, I’d like to announce that I will be taking my talents to the University of Notre Dame.”

And with that, amid cheers, Tobias stood up, stripped off a jacket to reveal a blue Notre Dame T-shirt. His family followed suit, taking off jackets to show T-shirts of Irish green, blue and gold.

It culminated a dream for Tobias that started a couple of years ago when he got an invitation to tour the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind., even though father Dom wasn’t initially too keen on the idea.

“I’m from Detroit; I grew up a Michigan fan,” Dom Merriweather said. “But I thought ‘OK, for your 16th birthday, we’ll go tour Notre Dame.’ And after that tour, I thought ‘OK, I can get on board with this Notre Dame thing.’ And that was before they even offered him.”

Dom Merriweather had experienced the college recruiting process with his daughters, Jai’lyn and Dai’lyn, who were state champion track and field stars at Union. Eventually, they both signed with Maryland before transferring to Oklahoma.

“I’m track guy,” Dom Merriweather said. “But this football thing is a completely different animal.”

There were trips to showcases in Las Vegas, weekly trips to Seattle for workouts and 7-on-7 events. And all the while, Dom Merriweather had people telling him how great his son was.

“It was a little odd to hear because as his dad, I just thought of him as my kid,” Dom Merriweather. “I remember (former Union quarterback) Lincoln Victor saying ‘this kid is the real dude!’ … But Tobias always took it in stride. He’s always been a well-rounded kid.”

Soon offers came in from every Pac-12 school, as well as Oklahoma, Nebraska, Tennessee and even Dom’s beloved Michigan.

But Notre Dame’s combination of football tradition and academic excellence appealed to Tobias.

He took his official tour of Notre Dame in June. He followed that up with a trip to Stanford. He said he considered taking trips to Michigan and Oregon, before ultimately deciding on Notre Dame. So he texted his dad.

“I texted back ‘Stay there. I’m coming home. We need to talk about this,’ ” Dom Merriweather said.

They did talk, and Notre Dame was the choice. The only thing left to decide was when to announce it. They settled on Aug. 4, the birthday of Tobias’ mom, Beverly.

So the Merriweather family had plenty to celebrate on Wednesday. And now they all can turn their attention to Tobias’ upcoming senior season with Union.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back in the stands and watching games again like normal,” Dom Merriweather said. “Sports are the greatest community builder. It doesn’t matter what happening in the world, all that goes away when you’re all cheering for the same team.”

Starting the fall of 2022, Dom Merriweather, the lifelong Michigan fan, will start cheering for the Fighting Irish.

“Tobias still has so much room to grow,” Dom Merriweather said. “I really feel like he’s going to become the best wide receiver in college football.”

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