Overview: Returning starter and all-star candidate at defensive end...nearly doubled his tackle production as a sophomore over his freshman year when he was a freshman All-American...went from four quarterback pressures to 20 as a sophomore...has played 25 consecutive games over two years and has 13 consecutive starts...averaged 39 plays per game in 2006, up from 23 plays per game in 2005...has 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in his career...has had one caused fumble each of the last two years...nephew of Clemson Defensive Line Coach Chris Rumph, his position coach...played tight end and defensive end at Fork Union Military Academy in 2004, the same prep school Gaines Adams attended before coming to Clemson...played in the Tennessee/Kentucky All-Star game after his prep career at Cordova High in Memphis, TN...played his prep school ball with current Clemson teammates Durrell Barry and Elsmore Gabriel.
2006: Started all 13 games and totaled 46 tackles, third-most among defensive linemen...ninth on the team in tackles on Clemson's top-16 total and scoring defense...had 10 tackles for loss, second-most on the team behind Gaines Adams...finished the season strong with at least four tackles in each of the last six contests...had 30 of his 46 tackles during the last six games...finished the season with five tackles along with a tackle for loss against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl...had a season-high six tackles against Maryland...had three quarterback pressures against N.C. State...second on the team in quarterback pressures with 20...had two tackles for loss for 22 yards at Boston College in 60 snaps of action...had 1.5 tackles for loss at Virginia Tech...had five tackles in each of the last two games...played at least 42 snaps in each of the last five games.
2005: Won the 12th Man Award for the defense as a rookie...second-team freshman All-America defensive end by Rivals.com...played 271 snaps, fifth among Clemson freshmen and second among first-year freshmen...had his top game against #25 Boston College when he had six tackles, including five first hits, in a season-high 47 plays...had a strong game at N.C. State with three tackles in 18 plays; he had a caused fumble along with his first career sack...had a sack against Duke...played double figures in plays in every game but one...played 11 snaps against Colorado and had one tackle.
Before Clemson: Played tight end and defensive end at Fork Union Military Academy in 2004...had 38 catches for 647 yards and five touchdowns; added five sacks, 51 tackles, and eight pass breakups...team MVP at Fork Union...#18 tight end in the nation according to SuperPrep and #20 tight end by Scout.com...#25 prep school player in the nation by Rivals.com...#34 tight end in the nation by SuperPrep...had 20 catches for 430 yards and four scores as a senior...totaled 34 tackles and four sacks as a senior...played in the Tennessee/Kentucky All-Star game...first-team all-state and all-region as a senior...All-Dixie team pick by SuperPrep...All-Atlantic Region pick by PrepStar...attended Calhoun High School in Saint Matthews, SC for three years...coached by former Gamecock, current Tiger assistant, and his uncle Chris Rumph in his first three years in high school...defensive MVP as a junior...all-conference, all-region, and all-area in basketball as a sophomore and junior...averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds on the hardwood...averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds as a junior...prep school teammate of Durrell Barry and Elsmore Gabriel...coached by J.C. Harmon at Fork Union...chose Clemson over Arkansas, Kentucky, Memphis, and South Carolina...born Phillip Blaine Merling on Aug. 19, 1985...majoring in sociology.
*Courtesy Clemson Media Guide