Matt Merritt | University of South Florida

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Team: University of South Florida
Organization: NCAA Football
Position: Assoc. Head Coach/RB


Years In Coaching: 13th
Years at USF: 1st
Alma Mater: Capital University, Bachelor’s degree 2010; Master’s degrees – sports management, Ohio State, ’16 & coaching education, Ohio, ‘16
Family: Wife: Brittanie; Sons: Daniel & Thomas
• Georgia Southern offense ranked No. 19 in FBS in total offense (468.6 ypg) and No. 30 in points (33.67 ppg)
• Senior analyst for 2021 Tennessee offense that broke eight school records.
• A part of coaching staffs that have played for (JMU, 2019) and won (Ohio State, 2015) a national championship.
• JMU running back Percy Agyei-Obese earned All-America honors in 2019.
• JMU’s rushing attack ranked 10th nationally and first in the CAA (242.9) in 2019, JMU’s backs combined for 3,224 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns.
• Elon led the CAA in the 2018 regular season at just under 200 yards rushing per game.
Experience as a Player
• Tallied 1,099 career rushing yards and 12 touchdowns at Capital University (2006-09), making a pair of Division III playoff appearances.
Bowl/Playoff Experience
2022 Camellia Bowl
2021 Music City Bowl (UT vs. Purdue)
2019 NCAA FCS National Runner-Up (JMU)
2018 NCAA FCS First Round (Elon)
2017 NCAA FCS First Round (Elon)
2015 Fiesta Bowl (OSU vs. Notre Dame)
2014 CFP National Championship (OSU vs. Oregon) - Champions
2014 CFP Semifinals/Sugar Bowl (OSU vs. Alabama)
2013 Orange Bowl (OSU vs. Clemson)
2008 NCAA D3 First Round (Capital)
2006 NCAA D3 Quarterfinals (Capital)
Matt Merritt was named associate head coach/run game coordinator on Alex Golesh’s first USF staff in December of 2022.
Merritt came to USF with over a decade of collegiate experience coaching running backs and having served the 2022 season as the running backs coach at Georgia Southern. He previously worked with Golesh as a member of the University of Tennessee staff in 2021 and has been a part of coaching staffs that have played for (JMU, 2019) and won (Ohio State, 2015) a national championship.
Merritt helped Georgia Southern earn an invitation to the Camellia Bowl as the Eagles ranked No. 19 in FBS football posting 468.6 yards per game and 30th with 33.67 points per game. Running back Jalen White ran for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Prior to his tenure at Georgia Southern, Merritt served as a senior offensive analyst for Tennessee (2021). UT earned a berth in the Music City Bowl and posted a four-win improvement over 2020. The Volunteers finished third in the SEC in total offense and second in scoring average, while the running game averaged over 218 yards per game, a nearly 90-yard per game improvement from the season before his arrival. UT shattered eight team single-season records, including points (511), total offensive yards (6,174), touchdowns (67) and rushing first downs (164). UT increased its total offense by 128.7 yards per game, putting up 474.9, a mark that ranked ninth in the FBS.
Merritt spent one season at James Madison (2019) and was part of a Dukes program that went 14-2, won the Colonial Athletic Association and reached the 2019 FCS National Championship game, falling to North Dakota State 28-20. He placed two running backs on the All-CAA Team, with one earning All-America honors. Percy Agyei-Obese was a Third-Team HERO Sports All-American and First-Team All-CAA selection after rushing for over 1,200 yards and leading the league in rushing touchdowns. Jawon Hamilton was also a Third-Team All-CAA honoree.

JMU’s rushing attack ranked 10th nationally and first in the CAA (242.9). Primarily a three- or four-running back rotation, JMU’s backs combined for 3,224 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns, 35 coming on the ground. Agyei-Obese turned in the seventh-best rushing performance in JMU single-season history with 1,216 yards to go with 19 rushing scores, which was third in JMU single-season history. Hamilton also neared the 1,000-yard mark, finishing the season with 919 yards on the ground.

The NCAA FCS level moved its 2020 season to the spring of 2021 due to COVID-19; thus, JMU did not play in the fall. Merritt left JMU and was scheduled to be the running backs coach for UCF, but after Josh Heupel left the Knights for Tennessee, that position was no longer available. While he would have been a full-time assistant on Heupel’s UCF staff, Merritt agreed to become the senior offensive analyst at Tennessee on Heupel’s new staff for the 2021 season.

Merritt went to JMU after two seasons at Elon (2017-18), where he coached the running backs and special teams. In his two years with the Phoenix, the program saw a drastic improvement in the run game, leading the CAA in the 2018 regular season and second overall, at just under 200 yards per game.

Led by CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year Jaylan Thomas and two-time All-CAA selection Malcolm Summers, the Phoenix backs combined to rush for more than 3,800 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns in Merritt’s two seasons guiding the group.

Elon ranked second in the CAA in rushing during the 2018 season at 199.5 yards per game. That was a 35 yards per game improvement from the 2017 season, in which the Phoenix rushed for 164.5 yards per game, which was almost 40 yards better than the year before Merritt’s hire.

Thomas was the league’s top offensive rookie threat in 2018, ranking second in the CAA at 95.1 rushing yards per game and leading the league with 6.6 yards per carry. He tallied 761 rushing yards in just eight games of action. Summers had been leading the league in rushing yards per game before an injury in the fifth game of the season, accruing nearly 600 rushing yards and three touchdowns in just five games. That included a 185-yard performance in Elon’s first win ever against JMU.

In 2017, Summers rushed for over 750 yards and four scores in only six games, leading the CAA and country in rushing yards before a season-ending injury midway through the campaign. Summers, along with De’Sean McNair and Brelynd Cyphers, combined for almost 1,900 yards and 14 scores to help the Phoenix reach the FCS playoffs after finishing second in the CAA.

Merritt spent one season as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Division II school Ohio Dominican (2016). ODU rushed for 1,398 yards and 16 scores, as four backs ran for at least 260 yards.

Merritt was an assistant running backs coach and offensive graduate assistant at Ohio State (2013-15). During Merritt’s time at OSU, the Buckeyes won the 2015 national championship, the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, and a Big Ten championship. They also made an appearance in the 2014 Orange Bowl.

While at OSU, he helped coach wide receivers, running backs, special teams, and the defensive scout team. He played a role in the development of Ezekiel Elliott and Curtis Samuel while with the Buckeyes, in addition to coaching Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller.

Merritt spent two years as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator at St. Charles Preparatory (2011-12). He also spent a year and a half as a graduate assistant coach at Capital University (2010), where he played running back and wide receiver.

Merritt recorded 542 rushing yards as a collegian, aiding in Capital’s 2007 playoff berth. He tallied 1,099 career rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and helped Capital make a pair of Division III playoff appearances.

During his coaching career, Merritt has participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Fellowships, first with the Cincinnati Bengals with the running backs in 2016 and also with the San Francisco 49ers with the quarterbacks in 2019.

Merritt earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Capital in 2010 and later  master’s degrees in sport management from Ohio State and coaching education from Ohio University, both in 2016.

He is married to the former Brittanie Duty. The couple has two sons, Daniel and Thomas.

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