7 Emmett Merchant
At Navy: All-East candidate ... enters the fall as the starter at free safety ... coming off a fantastic junior campaign ... will be a team leader along with fellow secondary members Wyatt Middleton and Kevin Edwards ... paired with Wyatt Middleton to give Navy one of its best safety combinations in the last 20 years ... has good hands ... does a good job of making a break on the ball once it is in the air ... has earned two varsity letters.
2009: Started 13 of the 14 games in which he played ... turned in 54 tackles (25-29), while breaking up four passes and picking off two ... forced the opponent to fumble twice ... member of Navy's defense that held Missouri, the nation's 33rd-ranked scoring offense with its 30.3 points per game, to just 13 points in the 2009 Texas Bowl ... it was Missouri's third-lowest scoring output of the year and the fewest points since Texas throttled the Tigers 41-7 on Oct. 24 ... after the Tigers scored a TD just 24 seconds into the game, Navy's defense held Missouri without a touchdown for the remainder of the contest ... was in on one tackle against Missouri and broke up a career-high two passes ... recorded five solo tackles in the annual Army-Navy game, pushing him over the 100-tackle mark for his career ... also broke up a pass and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Black Knights ... the Mids held Army to just a field goal in the contest after Ricky Dobbs threw an interception in Navy territory in the first quarter ... Navy's defense has not allowed an Army touchdown in 12-straight quarters (dating back to 2006) ... furthermore, the Mids did not give up an offensive touchdown to Army or Air Force in 2009 ... made four stops in the Mids' home finale against Delaware ... produced five tackles in Navy's win over Notre Dame ... Navy's 14-0 advantage at the half marked the first time since Nov. 1, 1997, that the Mids have led the Irish at the half ... it's also the first time since Nov. 2, 1974, that Navy has shut out Notre Dame in the opening half ... the Mids' defense held Temple to just 37 yards passing, the fewest yards since Rice completed all five of its pass attempts for 35 yards on Oct. 23, 2004 ... was in on a pair of tackles against the Owls ... Navy's defense stifled the Wake Forest offense all day, holding the Deacs scoreless in the first quarter and to three points for more than 53 minutes ... contributed four tackles in the Mids' win over the Deacs ... was in on one stop before getting banged up against SMU in the opening half ... he did not return in the second-half comeback ... part of a defense that held Rice to just 21 yards on the ground, marking the second time this year the Mids have held an opponent to under 50 yards rushing ... Navy also held Rice to 272 yards of total offense, the third opponent in 2009 that has been held under 300 yards of total offense ... made a pair of tackles against the Owls, while also breaking up a pass ... member of the Mids' defense that did not give up an offensive TD by Air Force and held the Falcons well under its rushing average of 319 yards (183 vs. Navy) ... intercepted AF quarterback Tim Jefferson late in the first quarter in Air Force territory and carried it back 33 yards ... also was in on a trio of tackles ... led the Mids with a career-high nine tackles against Western Kentucky ... finished the Pitt contest with five tackles ... stripped Pitt QB Bill Stull on the Navy 1-yard line, the first forced fumble of his career ... member of a Navy defensive squad that held Louisiana Tech scoreless for the final 54 minutes of the contest in a 32-14 win by the Mids ... was in on five tackles against the Bulldogs ... paced Navy with a then career-high eight tackles against No. 6 Ohio State in the Mids' season opener ... picked off phenom Terrelle Pryor late in the game, returning it 28 yards and setting up Navy's last touchdown of the game to get the Mids to within two points.
2008: Played in all 13 games for the Midshipmen, earning starts in three contests ... was in on 41 tackles, including one tackle for a loss of two yards ... picked off a pair of passes, returning them for a combined 41 yards ... also recovered two fumbles for the Mids ... tried his hand at returning kickoffs, returning four for 87 yards (21.8 yds/gm) ... turned in three tackles against Wake Forest in the EagleBank Bowl ... after earning the start at rover, suffered a concussion early on against Army which sidelined him for the remainder of the game ... turned in five tackles, including four solo stops, in Navy's 16-0 win over Northern Illinois ... was the first shutout Navy's defense has pitched since Sept. 18, 2004, when the Mids beat Tulsa on the road, 29-0 ... it was the first time the Huskies had been shut out since 1999 against Iowa (24-0) ... picked off NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish in the third quarter and returned it 29 yards ... was in on three stops against Notre Dame ... turned in a pair of tackles in Navy's come-from-behind victory over Temple on Senior Day ... playing the rover position in the nickel defense, he made three tackles against SMU ... made his first collegiate start in the Mids win over the Mustangs ... the defense held SMU to -13 yards rushing, the first team to post negative rushing yards against the Mids since Pitt in 1978 ... it also held the Mustangs to eight first downs, marking the first time a Navy opponent was held to 10 or fewer first downs since 1999 when Rutgers mustered 10 ... assisted on a pair of stops against 23rd-ranked Pitt on Homecoming ... made four tackles, including a tackle for a loss of four yards against Air Force ... came up with a huge interception with 5:11 to go in the game that set up the game-winning TD run by Jarod Bryant in the Mids' 24-17 win over Wake Forest ... it was the first interception of his career ... also pitched in five tackles ... played a solid game against Rutgers where he made a career-high six stops ... he also broke up a Mike Teel pass ... for the second-consecutive game, came up with a key fumble recovery, this time it interrupted a Rutgers drive that was inside the Navy five-yard line ... produced three tackles at Duke ... recovered a bobbled Blue Devil punt return, marking his first collegiate fumble recovery ... returned three kickoffs for 59 yards, including a long return of 25 yards at Ball State ... added a pair of tackles ... turned in a career-high three tackles in the Mids' season-opener against Towson ... returned one kickoff for 28 yards.
2007: Played in 12 games ... recorded 11 tackles, one for a loss, on the year ... also returned two kickoffs for a total of 87 yards ... made his collegiate debut in Navy's win over Temple to start the year ... returned a kickoff 57 yards in the fourth quarter at Rutgers ... provided a tackle on special teams against Ball State ... assisted on two tackles during kickoff coverage against Duke ... came up with two stops on kickoff coverage at Pittsburgh ... made two solo tackles against Wake Forest in the first quarter on kickoff coverage ... at Notre Dame on the two-point conversion stop in the third-overtime session, he assisted on the tackle ... also made a tackle earlier in the third overtime defensive series ... produced two stops, one for a loss of four yards, at North Texas ... also brought back one kickoff 30 yards against the Mean Green ... came up with a special teams tackle against Army.
High School / Personal: A 2006 graduate of Riverdale High School, Merchant attended the Naval Academy Prep School during the 2006-07 academic year ... earned two letters playing both cornerback and running back ... father, Emmett Sr., played football at Georgia Tech (1988-91) ... full name is Emmett Anthony Merchant Jr. ... born June 7, 1988, in Palsboro, N.J. ... son of Emmett Merchant Sr. and Jennifer White ... majoring in economics.