Written by Bryan Messerly
Jeff Merrow, a native of Akron, Ohio, was a three-year letterwinner in football from 1972-74.
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Merrow came to West Virginia from Firestone High in Akron, where he was an all-state, all-district and all-Akron standout. Playing on the defensive line, Merrow averaged more than 12 tackles per game. For his career, he registered 275 total tackles, 170 of those unassisted, and 22 career tackles for loss.
In 1973, Merrow led WVU’s defense with 141 tackles, including 93 unassisted tackles. He posted a then-school record 15 tackles for loss, which now ranks third in school history. Merrow was selected to the ECAC weekly all-star team for his play against Illinois in 1973, when he collected 18 tackles, 13 of them unassisted, while he was double-teamed most of the game.
A member of the 1972 Peach Bowl team and captain of the 1974 team for then-head coach Bobby Bowden, Merrow participated in the 1974 East-West Shrine game. He won the 1974 John Russell Award, given to WVU’s top lineman, and is also a member of the WVU 1970-79 all-time football team.
Merrow was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1975 NFL Draft in the 11th round and played nine years for the Falcons. He played in 108 games, starting 101 of them. At age 30 in 1983, Merrow ended his professional career by playing in all 16 games, recording three sacks on the year. Following retirement from the NFL, Merrow has co-owned an equipment business in Flowery Branch, Ga.
Merrow and wife Lisa, who now make their home in Buford, Ga., have three sons, Jeff Jr., Ian and Thor, a former Mountaineer football player.