Mertens was given a sixth year of eligibility and his return will help the Wyoming Cowboys’ defensive line production. A starter in 2010, 12 and 13, Mertens is likely the most experienced defensive lineman in the league. In his career, he had recorded 107 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He will counted on to be a force in the middle for Wyoming at defensive tackle.
Mertens was a well-decorated player for Sterling High School in Sterling, Colo., where he earned all-conference and all-state honors as a junior and senior and was named the team’s defensive MVP. He was also a four-year letter winner in basketball, earning honorable mention all-conference honors his junior and senior year.
After redshirting in 2009, Mertens found an opportunity in 2010, earning a starting nod at defensive tackle as Wyoming switched to a 4-3 defense. He collected 39 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks in 12 starts. In 2011, Mertens suffered an illness that would cost him the entire season. Healthy again in 2012, he played in all 12 games and recorded 34 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and pass breakup. It was more of the same in 2013 when Mertens racked up 34 tackles and five tackles for loss and two sacks.