He was born on January 15, 1990 in Orangeburg, SC and graduated from Calhoun County High in St. Matthews, SC. His cousin is former NFL defensive end Phillip Merling, who spent the majority of his career (2008-13) with the Miami Dolphins. After high school, he enrolled at Fork Union Military Academy for two years. After leaving Fork Union in 2009, he enrolled at University of Kentucky where as a freshman he appeared in 12 games and tallied 12 tackles. As a sophomore, he started 7 of 11 games at defensive tackle and recorded 31 tackles, 3 for loss and 1 sack. As a junior, he started all 11 games and recorded 36 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 1 forced fumble. As a senior, he tallied 47 tackles, 6 for loss, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble while starting 10 of 12 games. He was originally signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft.
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Signed by Atlanta Falcons on May 12, 2014.
Signed a three-year deal with Falcons in 2014.