A few minutes with ... Kirk Merritt _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Destrehan wide receiver, Kirk Merritt, runs the ball for a first down in the second quarter at the East St. John vs Destrehan football game in Reserve on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. ORG XMIT: BAT1411212104508119

Kirk Merritt, a senior, plays wide receiver for the Destrehan High School, which will play in the Class 5A state championship game on Saturday against Acadiana. Merritt is considered one of the state’s top recruits and this summer went to Oregon and won the prestigious Nike SPARQ national championship, a distinction given to the most athletic player in the country based on vertical jump, 40-yard dash and other measurables.

You are wearing a boot on your foot (Tuesday)? Will you be ready Saturday?

Yes I will be good. I just tweaked it in the West Monroe game. I will probably test it out on Thursday. I have just been rehabbing it.

What’s the latest on your recruiting?

I have narrowed it down to Oregon, Auburn and Texas A&M. I will probably announce on Signing Day.

How does the perfect season feel?

It feels great. All of this hard work is paying off. Since the offseason, we started right after we lost to Acadiana last year in the semifinals. We have them again. So I guess it’s almost like we get a chance to try to get revenge.

What was the transition like coming from Newman to Destrehan? (Merritt came to Destrehan his junior season).

At Newman, everybody knew everybody because it was a 2A school. This is 5A, so it’s bigger, faster. I just had to step up my game.

What do you think it will be like to play in the Superdome on Saturday?

We’ll find out Saturday. But hopefully it’s a memorable time and we come out victorious.

Were you there to watch in 2007 or 2008 when Destrehan won it?

I went to the one in 2007. I remember it was crazy. It was a wild game.

Who is the best defensive back you have played against?

I’d probably say Xavier Lewis (East St. John).

No. 33 is not really a receiver number. Why do you wear No. 33?

I started wearing it because Odell (Beckham Jr.) had it his freshman year at LSU. He changed his number to No. 3 eventually but I just decided to keep it. I will probably wear it in college too.

Is Odell your favorite receiver?

Odell and Jarvis Landry. Jarvis is physical. And I like Odell’s route running and speed. I also like Percy Harvin.

What did it mean to you to win the SPARQ championship?

It was great getting to compete against the best athletes in the nation. It was a humbling experience. I just have to thank my coaches and my trainers for getting me ready for it.

Speedy Noil (former Edna Karr standout) won it last year. Who would win a race between you and Speedy?

(Laughter). I don’t know. We should race. I’m going to text him.

Where did your speed come from?

I used to run a lot. And I took karate when I was 5 years old. I started playing football when I was about 5 or 6. Then I started running AAU track when I was around 10.

Who are you rooting for in the College Football Playoffs?


What’s your favorite sports movie?

“Friday Night Lights”

Who is your favorite NFL team?

The Saints.

What do you think about their season so far?

Shaky. But I still think we will get in the playoffs. We will slide in there somehow. Cam Newton is a good player, so I guess it was hard to gameplan against him.

You will take the Destrehan jersey off for the last time Saturday. What will that be like?

It’s going to be hard, knowing that it’s the last time ever. But hopefully it’s going to be after a win.

Rod Walker