St. Matthews (S.C.) Calhoun County tight end/defensive end Phillip Merling has four schools at the top of his list entering the summer camp period.
“Right now it’s Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky,” he said. “Those are the four who have recruited me the hardest. I’d say there’s a good chance I’ll end up going to one of those four unless things change.
“I grew up a USC fan and liked them a lot when I was younger, but Clemson has been recruiting me the hardest. They were really the first to show a lot of interest. But now, I’d say it’s all about the same. All four of those are staying in touch with me.”
Clemson and South Carolina have made the first two scholarship offers.
Merling (6-5, 240, 4.6) was equally strong on both sides of the ball as a junior. He caught 10 touchdown passes as a tight end and registered 12 sacks as a defensive end.
“I don’t really have a big preference about where I play,” he said. “I’ll try to figure that out sometime next season. USC and Kentucky want me as a defensive end. Clemson and Georgia want me as a tight end. I’m going to look at the depth charts for those teams and see where I have the best opportunity to fit in and get some early playing time.”
Merling said he hopes to attend one-day camps at all four schools this summer.
Academically, he carries a 2.5 GPA and is expected to be a qualifier. He will take his test later this summer.