Outstanding tight end and defensive end prospect… ranked as the 34th best tight end in the nation by SuperPrep…played his senior year of high school at Cordova High in Cordova, TN for Lynord Crutchfield…had 20 receptions for 430 yards and four touchdowns as an offensive player in 2003, he added 34 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries on defense…chosen to play in the Tennessee vs. Kentucky All-Star game, which will be played this summer…first-team all-state and All-Region in 2003, he was named an AXA Liberty Bowl All-Star… named to All-Dixie team by SuperPrep…All-Atlantic Region selection by PrepStar … also playing basketball during his senior year at Cordova High and he was averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds per game through games of Feb. 1…played his first three years of high school at Calhoun High School in St. Matthews High in South Carolina before transferring…played for former South Carolina player Chris Rumph his first three years of high school…Rumph played for current Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott when Scott was head coach at South Carolina…named best Male Athlete at Calhoun High as a junior…all-conference, all-area and all-region in football in 2002…named defensive MVP at Calhoun high in 2002…all-conference, all-region and all-area as a sophomore and junior….outstanding basketball player who averaged double-double as a junior at Calhoun, 15 points and 13 rebounds per outing…chose Clemson over South Carolina and Arkansas….born Phillip Blaine Merling on August 19, 1985.
Quoting Merling: "I like their (Clemson's) weight room program. They get everyone big and strong there. They want me to play tight end, and I think their offensive scheme fits in well with me."
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