Boston College's super-sized freshman class just got bigger. Forward Michael Merulla, who spent last season with the Aston Rebels of the Tier II North American Hockey League, has committed to BC. A 1996 birth year, Merulla will presumably enroll this fall.
Merulla, a native of Kennett Square, Pennslyvania, is a 6'0'', 194-lb forward who's listed as a center/right wing by EliteProspects.
The NAHL is not a common source of recruiting for BC; it's moreso a place for late bloomers to try to get noticed by college programs. Merulla certainly got noticed, putting up 24 goals and 31 assists in 48 games.
The league has sent a number of players to Hockey East in recent years; Zach Kamrass of UMass-Lowell stands out as a name you might be familiar with, along with Northeastern goalie Ryan Ruck. Last year, the NAHL produced two commits each for PC and BU, as well as one at Northeastern.
OverTheBoards ranked Merulla as one of the top 50 uncommitted prospects going in to the 2013-14 season when he was 17; describing him as an "opportunistic forward" who "plays with a lot of intensity and just makes things happen."
All in all, a solid depth pickup at forward for BC, and another guy who's highly likely to be at the program for 3-4 years. Perhaps a sign of a shift in recruiting strategy, or perhaps just a sign of a program with scholarship money to burn and a major need for depth after losing so many key contributors.
BC is now slated to add 12 freshmen next season, including 6 forwards. We'll see if any of them are pushed off a year.