Graham Mertz is an American college football quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Mertz's first two years of high school were spent at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Kansas where he backed up all-state quarterback Carter Putz. Before his junior year, Mertz transferred to Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He led Blue Valley North to a Class 6A state championship as a junior, and to state runner-up as a senior. In his senior year he completed 61.1% of his passes for 3,886 yards and a state-record 51 touchdowns. He was a finalist for the Elite 11 quarterback competition in 2018, and was named Gatorade Kansas Football Player of the Year. Graham was invited to the All-American Bowl after his senior season, where he set a bowl record with five touchdown passes and was named game MVP.
Mertz was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, 247Sports.com, and Rivals.com. ESPN rated him as the best pocket passer in the class of 2019 and 21st highest rated recruit overall. In the 247Sports Composite, Mertz was rated as the third-highest rated pro-style quarterback, the highest rated Kansas recruit, and 65th highest rated recruit overall.
Mertz committed to play football at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on October 9, 2017.
Three-year Wisconsin starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook announced that he would be transferring to Florida State for the 2019 season, leaving the starting role open for competition between Mertz and junior Jack Coan. ESPN described Mertz as Wisconsin's "most hyped QB since Russell Wilson." Mertz ultimately lost the starting job to Coan, and redshirted his true freshman season after appearing in two games.
With Coan injured in practice before the 2020 season, Mertz began the season as the starting quarterback, and tied the Badger record for consecutive completions to start a game (17) in his first start. His five passing touchdowns in the 45–7 win over Illinois also tied the school single-game record. He also broke the school record for completion percentage in a single game with a 95.2% (20-21).
As of October 23, 2020:
|NCAA Career Totals||3||1||1–0||29||31||321||93.5||5||0||233.7||7||8||1.1||0|
Graham's father, Ron Mertz, played football as an offensive lineman at Minnesota from 1989–92. Graham has two sisters that played college basketball: Lauren, at Kansas State, and Mya, at Drake.