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Phillip Merling
DT #97
Height:
6-4
Weight:
295
College:
Clemson
Hometown:
St. Matthews, SC
Experience:
4

Biography

FINS FACT
During high school and college, Phillip was always close to his family. In fact, for three seasons he played for his uncle Chris Rumph at Calhoun County High School in Saint Matthews, S.C. Phillip relocated to Tennessee and played his senior season at Cordova High School in Memphis, Tenn., then made his way to Clemson where his uncle soon joined him as his position coach prior to the start of the 2006 season.
FINS FACT
During high school and college, Phillip was always close to his family. In fact, for three seasons he played for his uncle Chris Rumph at Calhoun County High School in Saint Matthews, S.C. Phillip relocated to Tennessee and played his senior season at Cordova High School in Memphis, Tenn., then made his way to Clemson where his uncle soon joined him as his position coach prior to the start of the 2006 season.

CAREER TRANSACTIONS
Originally was the first of two second-round draft choices (32nd overall) of the Dolphins in 2008.

PRO
2010 - Played in five games . . . Finished with three tackles and one pass defensed . . . Placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list on Aug. 31 with an Achilles’ injury . . . Activated from the Reserve/Non Football Injury list on Nov. 30 . . . Made his season debut vs. Cleveland (12/5) in a reserve role.

2009 - Played in all 16 games, starting once . . . Finished with career highs of 33 tackles (24 solo) and 2.5 sacks . . . Added three passes defensed and a fumble recovery . . . Registered a season-high five tackles, including a sack, in season opener at Atlanta (9/13) . . . Had four tackles including a half-sack against New Orleans (10/25) . . . Recorded second straight game with four tackles at New York Jets (11/1) . . . Recorded three tackles, with a sack, at Carolina (11/19) . . . Added two tackles at Jacksonville (12/13) and vs. Pittsburgh (1/3/10).

2008 - Played in 15 games, starting once . . . Had 26 tackles, one sack for four yards in losses, and one interception for 25 yards and a touchdown for the season . . . Made Dolphins and NFL debut in a reserve role vs. N.Y. Jets (9/7) and had two tackles . . . Made his first NFL start at Arizona (9/14) and had four tackles . . . Had three tackles including one sack at New England (9/21), tackling Patriots’ quarterback Matt Cassel for a four-yard loss . . . It was his first career NFL sack . . . Had one interception at N.Y. Jets (12/28), picking off a Brett Favre pass and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown . . . It was his first career interception and his first career touchdown . . . His INT return for a touchdown was the first by a Dolphins defensive lineman since Jason Taylor picked off a Matt Cassel pass and returned it 36 yards for a TD vs. New England on Oct. 21, 2007 . . . Also was the first Dolphins rookie defensive player to score a touchdown since linebacker Derrick Pope had a one-yard fumble recovery for a score on Nov. 28, 2004 at San Francisco . . . Became the first Dolphins rookie to have an interception return for a touchdown since Nov. 17, 1996 at the Houston Oilers when Zach Thomas intercepted a Chris Chandler pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown . . . Made his playoff debut in a reserve role in AFC Wild Card game vs. Baltimore (1/4/09) and had two tackles.

COLLEGE
Was a three-year letterman at Clemson (2005-07), who started the final two seasons . . . Appeared in 38 games while starting his final 26 contests . . . Delivered career totals of 146 tackles (99 solo) with 12 sacks for minus 80 yards, 31 stops for loss and 45 quarterback pressures . . . Added four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and seven pass deflections . . . Started all 13 games at left defensive end as a junior in 2007 when he was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection . . . Ranked fifth on the team with a career-high 78 tackles (51 solo), and added seven sacks for minus 50 yards, 17 stops for losses and 21 quarterback pressures . . . Also caused two fumbles and recovered another . . . Became the first Tiger defensive lineman since 1983 to earn ACC Player of the Week honors three times in the same season . . . Posted consecutive two-sack performances against Wake Forest and Boston College . . . Started all 13 games as a sophomore in 2006 . . . Recorded 46 tackles (31 solo) with three sacks for minus 19 yards and ten stops for losses . . . Also caused one fumble and deflected four passes . . . Made 30 of his 46 tackles during his last six games . . . Played in 12 games as a freshman in 2005 . . . Was a second-team Freshman All-American and was the recipient of Clemson’s 12th Man Award for the defense . . . Recorded 22 tackles (17 solo), two sacks for minus 11 yards, four stops for loss and four pressures . . . Also caused a fumble . . . Attended Fork Union Military Academy in 2004, where he played defensive end and tight end . . . Earned team MVP honors after catching 38 passes for 647 yards and five touchdowns while adding five sacks, 51 tackles, and eight pass breakups . . . Majored in sociology at Clemson.

PERSONAL
Attended Cordova High School in Memphis, Tenn., as a senior . . . Played tight end and defensive end and had 20 catches for 430 yards and four scores that season, adding 34 tackles and four sacks . . . Played in the Tennessee/Kentucky All-Star game, earning first-team All-State and All-Region accolades . . . Began his prep career playing football for three seasons under head coach Chris Rumpf (his uncle, who also served as Merling’s defensive line coach at Clemson) at Calhoun County High School in Saint Matthews, S.C . . . Earned Defensive MVP honors as a junior . . . Also excelled in basketball, receiving All-Conference, All-Region and All-Area honors as a sophomore and junior . . . Averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds as a senior and averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds as a junior . . . Participated in the Miami Dolphins Foundation Fishing Tournament . . . Lists “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as favorite television show and Lil Wayne as favorite recording artist . . . Full name is Phillip Blaine Merling, born on April 19, 1985, in Portsmouth, Va.
Defensive
YearTeamGTotalSoloAstSckSFTYPDefIntTDsYdsAvgLng
TOTAL 53 70 52 18 3.5 0 8 1 1 25 -- 25
2013 WAS 3 2 1 1 0 -- 0 -- -- -- -- --
2012 GB 3 2 1 1 0 -- 0 -- -- -- -- --
2011 MIA 10 4 3 1 0 -- 2 -- -- -- -- --
2010 MIA 5 3 3 0 0 -- 1 -- -- -- -- --
2009 MIA 16 33 24 9 2.5 -- 3 -- -- -- -- --
2008 MIA 16 26 20 6 1 0 2 1 1 25 25 25

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