Football Signee Working Hard to Make Immediate Impact

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The college football season is still a few months away, but Phillip
Merling is already dreaming about it. Merling, who says he
has already qualified
academically, can't stop thinking about starting practice and
putting on a Clemson uniform for the first time.

If Merling brings to Clemson the same work ethic that he has had in
high school, however, the Tigers may also be dreaming about the start of
the season.

Merling has dropped 15 pounds since his football season ended at
Cordova, but he has remained in terrific shape, and can't wait to make an
impact at Clemson.

"I have been lifting weights during school, and I have an after school
job that is about a mile and half away, and I run to and from there every
day," Merling said. "During basketball season, I averaged about 20 points
and 15 rebounds a game. I am only going to concentrate on football
during my freshman and sophomore years, but if it's alright with the
coaches, I may also try to play basketball during my final two years."

As was the case during his basketball season, Merling sees a
succesful season in store for him and his Tiger teammates.

"I think we will do really well," Merling said. "I know that we lost a few
key players in the NFL draft, but we have a lot of talent coming back, and
should have a great season."


TE Phillip Merling (6-5 255, 4.7) Cordova, TN

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.

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