Police believe the shooting, which occurred while Merrick was visiting his home in Gadsden, Alabama, was accidental.
Merrick was 19 years old.
The linebacker was named Gadsden City’s Defensive Player of the Year last year.
The three-star recruit joined UAB, over programs like Missouri and UCF, after he was rated the 29th-best inside linebacker in the country on the ESPN 300.
Merrick is the second UAB football player to die this offseason. Safety Jamari Smith drowned in a lake in May.