IRON SHARPENS IRON: Strake Jesuit has DI dynamic duo
Rep after rep, Jacob Psyk and Max Merril go head-to-head during football practice at Strake Jesuit Prep.
Psyk is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end, while Merril is a 6-foot-4, 250-pound guard. Both first-team, all-district. Both getting recruited by several of the same schools. Both are big-time students.
"Max is a great offensive lineman," Psyk said. "Usually I can beat a guy over and over with the same move. Max knows what I like to do. He makes me better and I have to change it up on him every play."
"We've grown up in this program," Merril said. "He's helped me a ton. He's the best defensive lineman I've played in our district. He's very underrated and it's tough dealing with him every day. I know going against him that I'm ready for any defensive end coming my way."
Psyk is from Greatwood in Sugar Land. His brother plays baseball for George Ranch, but he's always been a private school kid. He grew up playing on the Katy Sun Devils select football team with superstars Bryce Foster, Hayden Conner (Texas A&M-commit) and Jalen Milroe (UT-commit).
"I grew up playing with the highest-caliber kids in the Houston area," Psyk said. "Coming to Strake Jesuit has been a great decision. The academics are challenging but I'm up for it. I moved up to varsity as a sophomore and have improved so much. I was too big for my body at the beginning, but I've worked on my foot work and bend so much."
The Psyk family is crazy about the New England Patriots. Dad is an ER doctor and mom is a nurse.
"I love to read books about health and recovery," he said. "I'm reading The TB12 Method right now. I just like information. I'm not sure I will get in the medical field like my parents. I see how hard they work and how stressful their jobs are."
Psyk dreams are coming true as several schools have extended offers to the explosive end like Central Michigan, five Ivy League schools, Montana State, Army and Air Force.
"It's really about who wants me the most," he said. "Academics are big, but I want to play football at a high level."
He patterns his game after Joey and Nick Bosa of NFL fame and his No. 1 goal is to be the best team captain he can be. He wants more than 15 sacks, to win a district title to make a run in the postseason.
What would be his dream?
"To run out of the tunnel at Notre Dame," he said.
Max Merril has been throwing around a football since he could walk.
He grew into an offensive lineman early.
"When I was old enough and got to put the pads on, I started pushing people around," he laughed. "I've spent hours getting better and I've grown to love the position."
Merril joined his buddy Psyk on the freshman team and they both played offense and defense. He got the call after his freshman fall.
"We showed our stripes on the freshman team," he said. "During the spring, my offensive line coach told me I would be lining up with the starting five. That's where it all started."
He was a first-teamer as a junior and started to pull offers. Louisville and UConn have recently offered. Those followed after the Ivy League and Service Academies extended offers.
"It feels amazing that all of my hard work is paying off," he said. "It's humbling that schools are wanting me to play for them. To go through it with a buddy like Jacob makes the experience even more special."
Merril is working out with NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews to fine-tune his game.
"I'm just getting ready for the season," he said. "He's taught me so much about pass sets, pulling, getting my feet right and staying low so I can blow people up next year."
His dream school is Ohio State and the junior-to-be has a hidden talent.
"A very under-rated talent for an offensive lineman is being able to bake," he laughed. "I'm not bad in the kitchen. You can get bigger that way."