HHS’ Mercer signs with Buckeyes
HUNTINGTON — J.J. Mercer signing to play at Ohio State University is the tennis equivalent of a football player signing with Clemson, a basketball player with Kentucky or a baseball player with Oregon State.
Mercer signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for the Buckeyes, a national power that finished runner-up to Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament last season. The Huntington High School star selected the Buckeyes after narrowing his choice to them, the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.
“Academically and athletically, Ohio State is really strong,” said Mercer, who plans to major in business. “It’s a good fit for me. In terms of tennis, they’re a national powerhouse, one of the top teams in the country, and it gives me a place to get a great education and improve my tennis for after college.”
Mercer said he loved all the schools, although he might have to drop any fondness he has for Michigan. His sister, Cassie Mercer, played at Virginia. Former Highlanders star Hunter Tubert played at Ohio State and was part of the Big Ten doubles champion last season as a senior. Cassie Mercer and Tubert were valuable resources in the recruiting process.
“I had a lot of insight into those schools,” J.J. Mercer said. “I’m confident I made the right decision. When I visited Ohio State, I stayed with Hunter and got insight from him. I enjoyed it.”
Mercer has won three consecutive singles state championships and has been ranked as high as 16th nationally among boys. He also played baseball last season, batting .330 to help the Highlanders to a third-place finish in the Mountain State Athletic Conference. His love for baseball will remain, but once he gets to Columbus his swings will be taken on the tennis court.
“I look forward to it,” Mercer said. “They’re building a new $23 million facility that should be ready by my sophomore year.”