Dom Merriweather’s face beamed with joy speaking about his only son’s journey that led up to Wednesday — the day Tobias Merriweather announced his commitment to play college football at one of the nation’s premier programs and elite academic institutions.
The drive and determination. Sacrifices and grit. It has never wavered — not for a second.
“He’s always been a dreamer,” Dom Merriweather said of his son, Union High School’s star wide receiver.
In a new chapter of Merriweather’s football journey, the incoming senior announced Wednesday he’ll play football at The University of Notre Dame as part of the recruiting Class of 2022. The ceremony inside Union’s performing arts center was filled with close friends, coaches and teammates looking on, as the teenager was surrounded on stage by family. A national audience tuned in to hear Merriweather say why he chose to be an Irish live on CBS Sports HQ.
What sold the teenager on Notre Dame is more than its rich tradition of football history, coaching staff, facilities and even the Irish playing in the College Football Playoff in 2018 and 2021. It’s also a world-class education. It’s the complete package.
“It’s going to be good for me for the next four years,” he said, “and the next 40 years after that.”
Merriweather selected Notre Dame over 17 other programs to offer scholarships including Michigan, Tennessee and every Pacific-12 Conference school. Merriweather took official visits to Notre Dame and Stanford in June.
Merriweather said he picked a special day to make his special announcement. He chose Aug. 4 for a reason; it’s his mother’s birthday. With it came extra emotions — Beverly Merriweather recently was hospitalized while battling complications from COVID-19. She was in attendance for her son’s big day, and praised him in front of onlookers for the young man he’s turned into.
“I’m glad we had a chance to do this (together),” Tobias Merriweather said.
At 6 feet 5 and 190 pounds and rated a four-star recruit nationally, Merriweather checks all the boxes for what college programs seek in an elite receiver — a unique blend of size, speed and athleticism. And perhaps at no time was that athleticism on full display more than his junior year at Union in COVID-condensed sports seasons. In football, he scored eight touchdowns, including two kickoff returns for scores, over six games. On the track, he earned the triple crown in the sprints by sweeping the 100, 200 and 400 meters at the league championships while playing simultaneously for the Titans’ boys basketball team. He was named The Columbian’s male athlete of the year in June.
In two football seasons, Merriweather has racked up more than 1,100 receiving yards.
Union head coach Rory Rosenbach has coached high school football for 21 years. He praised Merriweather’s gradual climb from a talented, speedy ninth grader who saw varsity time on Union’s 2018 state title-winning team into an elite football recruit.
But more importantly, the coach said, is Merriweather’s growth as a leader. And the COVID-19 era brought out the best in that, Rosenbach said.
“His leadership, for me, I thought was the last piece,” Rosenbach said. “He worked hard to be a great athlete, he worked hard to be a great teammate, he worked hard in the off-season and put the time to hone his craft … but then that leadership and that mental toughness piece are things that will serve him well.”
So, how does the dream he’s had for years compare to the reality of Wednesday?
For Tobias Merriweather, it’s elementary.
“A dream can get you places sometimes,” he said, “if you work hard enough for it.”