Should I Stay or Should I Go?

CLEMSON – Football head coach Tommy Bowden met with his team for roughly an hour Tuesday and then with some players individually.

After that, he met with the media to discuss pending transfers and players possibly leaving early for the NFL.

However, there were two notable absentees from the team meeting in junior defensive end Phillip Merling and junior tailback James Davis. Both are mulling over leaving for the NFL early and are expected to be back on campus in the next day or so.

Bowden said he will meet with each of them and try to talk them into staying at Clemson. Players have until Jan. 15 to announce whether they're staying in school or going pro.

Merling is leaning toward going pro, but Bowden said he hasn't made up his mind. He's hoping he can convince Merling to stay just like he did with Gaines Adams two years ago.

"Gaines sat right there and I would have bet the house that he was gone," Bowden said.

Davis is the unknown. He said he would return if he was projected as a third-round draft pick, which he was, but Davis is still debating on what to do.

He is currently scheduled to meet with Bowden Wednesday.

Bowden said he would wait until the 15th to discuss any player specifically because that player could still change his mind a dozen times between now and then.

On the flip side, junior safety Michael Hamlin told reporters as he exited the meeting that he is coming back to play his senior season. Quarterback Cullen Harper said the same thing.

Bowden also said that as of this moment that no one has indicated to him that they want to transfer.

One player leaving early is quarterback Tribble Reese, who graduated in December. Bowden said some schools have called inquiring about the redshirt junior. Since he has graduated, he wouldn't have to sit out a year before playing for another school.

In other news, Bowden said depending on what transpires with any transfers or players leaving for the NFL will determine whether or not any position changes will take place.

One player that thought about transferring but has decided to return is tight end Durell Barry. The redshirt sophomore was displeased with the way his playing time became nothing.

"I love Clemson. I don't want to leave Clemson," he said. "If they're not going to play me, then they're not going to play me."

He said he will meet with Bowden and tight ends coach Billy Napier to discuss the reasons he wasn't on the field this year. He said he want to hear their explanation.

As far as all the assistant coaches returning, Bowden said that some schools have called recently asking for permission to talk with some of them. However, Bowden wouldn't say what assistants and what schools were involved.

He did say that no school has officially asked for permission to speak with defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. However, he paused real long before answering that question. Odds are Koenning has had informal discussions with team, but nothing serious and formal as of yet. Top Stories