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Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz impressing early during Elite 11 Finals

SB Nation spoke with the four-star standout at a huge national event

Before 2019 commit Graham Mertz takes his official visit to Wisconsin next weekend, the four-star quarterback is currently slinging the ball around Redondo Beach, Calif., at the Elite 11 Finals.

According to its official website, the Elite 11 Finals brings together 24 selected prep quarterbacks to “receive advanced, one-on-one quarterback instruction in a highly competitive setting” that lasts three days and involves both on and off-the-field instruction. The event’s participants compete with the hope to earn a place to participate in The Opening Finals later this summer.

Early on, it appears Mertz has impressed those in attendance. SB Nation’s Bud Elliott commented on Friday that the Kansas prep quarterback “looks damn good”at the event. Greg Biggins from 247Sports listed him as the No. 3 performer from Friday, noting the Badger commit “has a college body right now, a smooth easy release, and one of the biggest arms in the event.”

Many have seen the four-star quarterback’s rise nationally with his tweets noting offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Clemson and over a dozen other Power Five programs since verbally pledging to Wisconsin back last fall.

When asked by SB Nation’s Bud Elliott on Friday about his recruiting process, however, Mertz reaffirmed he is committed to Wisconsin.

“I love the fit,” Mertz said, “I love everything going on with it, and I don’t see anything changing.”

There is a solid relationship built between Mertz and Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst and quarterbacks coach Jon Budmayr, one that Mertz described as “great.”

“Chryst and Budmayr, they’ve been there from the start,” Mertz said. “It’s only getting stronger. Every time we get on the phone, every time they come see me, I love it.”

As previously reported by 247Sports and Rivals,Mertz told SB Nation that he will officially visit Wisconsin next weekend. That shapes up to be a big recruiting weekend for the Badgers, with several current class of 2019 verbal commits officially visiting as well. That list reportedly includes highly-touted offensive lineman Logan Brown, defensive lineman Keeanu Benton and athlete Marcus Graham, along with uncommitted 2019 linebacker Spencer Lytle also slated to officially visit.

When asked who he has bonded with the most so far in this class, Mertz mentioned tight end Hayden Rucci, who is also taking his official visit to UW during the same weekend from June 8-9.

“I’ve been talking with him a ton. We play Fortnite every once in a while so we’re getting pretty close,” Mertz said.

With his impressive performances at various regional camps earlier this year, from the U.S. Army National Combine in January,The Opening Regional in Atlanta and the Rivals 3-Stripe Camp, Mertz’s name is a hot commodity.

Mertz noted both Ohio State and Notre Dame as programs that are trying the hardest to flip his commitment away from Wisconsin.

However, Mertz said there are no plans right now to visit other schools.

What would it take for him to visit another program?

“Really just, if we’re out there, we might stop by,” Mertz said, indicating to SB Nation there would not be any shakiness with his commitment to Wisconsin. “We were up in Columbus for a Rivals camp, and we actually just swung by Ohio State for a day just to check it out, so it’s really if we’re up there, we’re going to go swing by and check it out.”

According to 247Sports composite rankings, Mertz is rated the No. 145 overall player and No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the nation.