The class of 2003 was short on tight ends in the deep south last year, but Phillip Merling is making sure that is not the case this year. That is, if he plays tight end at all on the next level.
The 6-6 and 240 pound Merling runs a self reported 4.6 forty and is also one of the top defensive end prospects in the south with his size and speed. Where does he prefer to play on the next level?
"It doesn't matter to me at all," said Merling. "I'll play on either side of the ball. Everyone that's recruiting me is saying either tight end or defensive end. I've already gotten offers from Clemson and South Carolina. I'm going to try and hit camps this summer at Georgia, Clemson, and South Carolina. Those are probably my top three schools, and if I had to name five the other two would be Kentucky and Miami."
Merling was known for his big plays last season on both sides of the ball. At tight end he had nine touchdown catches on defense he had 10 or 11 sacks by his count. He has good strength for his long frame with a 285 pound bench and a 385 squat, but getting faster and stronger is a goal of his in the spring and summer.
"I think I have good quickness off the ball right now, but I always want to get quicker and stronger."
Merling is also a standout basketball player that averages a double double for his Calhoun County team. He is a very good all-around athlete, and he has the potential to be one of the top rated players in the south. The question remains for summer evaluation of: which position?