The Mids scored a school-record 73 touchdowns, including a program-record 61 rushing TDs.
The Mids have won three consecutive bowl games dating back to the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl where they defeated Middle Tennessee.
Meeting for just the second time in series history, the Mids make their first trip to Tampa to face the Bulls.
Junior outside linebacker from Memphis, Tenn.
By Gary Lambrecht
• At Navy: Enters the fall as the starter at corner ... started six games last year before missing six games with an injury ... has good speed and coverage skills ... has good ball skills ... has earned two varsity letters.
• 2016: A starter in six of the eight contests in which he played ... sat out six of the last seven games - Notre Dame, Tulsa, East Carolina, SMU, Temple and Army - due to an injury ... finished the year with 19 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, broke up four passes and forced a team-best three fumbles ... played one series of the Armed Forces Bowl game against LA Tech due to an injury to Jarid Ryan ... turned in four tackles at USF ... recorded four solo stops, broke up two passes (career high) and forced a fumble in the win over Memphis ... part of a defensive unit that caused three Houston turnovers (2 INT, 1 Fumble) that in turn led to 17 points for the Mids ... played a stout game against Houston where he produced a season-high five tackles, including a half a tackle for a loss of three yards ... forced a fumble and broke up a pass ... turned in a pair of tackles, including his first career tackle for a loss of six yards at Air Force ... pitched in a tackle at Tulane ... produced three tackles and forced a fumble in Navy’s win over UConn in the conference opener ... part of a defensive effort that held Fordham to three field goals on the Rams’ three trips to the red zone ... making his second career start and first since last year’s opener against Colgate, he broke up a pass against Fordham.
• 2015: A member of special teams, saw action in 12 games ... finished the year with 13 tackles and broke up a pass ... turned in a pair of tackles in the win over Pitt in the Military Bowl ... chipped in a tackle at Houston ... played the bulk of the fourth quarter at Tulsa and pitched in a tackle ... Nturned in a pair of tackles at Notre Dame ... chipped in a tackle at UConn as a member of special teams ... turned in a career-best six tackles, all solo, and broke up a pass against Colgate in what was his first career start and only his second collegiate appearance.
• 2014: Saw his only action against VMI.
• High School / Personal: A 2013 graduate of Atascocita High School, Merchant attended the Naval Academy Prep School during the 2013-14 academic year ... a two-sport athlete who earned letters in football (3) and track & field (4) ... father played football at Georgia Tech (1988-91) ... brother, Emmett, graduated from the Naval Academy in 2011 and was a starter at safety for the Midshipmen ... brother, Eshon, played football at Bowie State ... son of Emmett Merchant and Jennifer White ... majoring in economics.