Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Ellis Merriweather receives rookie minicamp invites from Packers and Saints

The former UMass running back starts Green Bay minicamp Thursday
Sophie-Zoe Schreyer / Daily Collegian.

As the final rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft passed, former Massachusetts football running back Ellis Merriweather didn’t receive a phone call from any general manager. The Alpharetta, Georgia native waited until Monday before he got a phone call from the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, who invited him to their rookie minicamps.

The Packers weren’t first, second or even on the list of teams Merriweather expected to be hearing from. Merriweather said he “didn’t even talk to” the Packers during the entire draft process. The New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars, among others, expressed interest in Merriweather, but all three of those teams drafted other running backs.

“I’ve been in this situation before, and I came out on top,” Merriweather said. “Now it’s just time for that next level, to prove the same thing to myself, not to nobody else but myself.”

Merriweather started his collegiate career at junior college in Kansas with Garden City Community College. After two years there he transferred to UMass, where he spent the past three seasons.

In those three years, he rushed 410 times for 1,828 yards and eight touchdowns. The bulk of that production came in 2021, as Merriweather’s yards per carry dropped from 5.2 that year to 3.8 in 2022.

Prior to the draft, Merriweather spent time in New Castle, Pennsylvania at Grossetti performance. There, he worked 6-hour days practicing the finer details of stretching and workouts, before heading down to North Carolina with his running backs coach.

While being interviewed for this story, Merriweather went through an upper body workout in Atlanta, getting himself prepared for Thursday, the first day of Green Bay’s minicamp. If the Packers don’t sign him, the Saints rookie minicamp starts next week.

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel were the two players Merriweather compared his desired skillset to. At 6-feet-2-inches, 225-pounds, Merriweather is aware that he’s perceived as a power running back, but he cited route-running as his most recent priority in training. Merriweather only caught 31 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown through three seasons with the Minutemen, but mentioned that he played wide receiver in high school.

“I really want to be an extra wide receiver,” Merriweather said. “I’m so big, people don’t even think about putting me as a wide receiver. [My catching] is honestly my best ability.”

To save everyone a Google search, Kamara is 5-feet 10-inches, 215-pounds. Samuel is 6-feet, 216-pounds.

Joey Aliberti can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JosephAliberti1.

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