Despite its proximity, Syracuse does not typically dip into Connecticut during recruiting. The state isn't well known for producing division one talent. Phillips is the first verbal from Connecticut since Ken Tinney in the 2005 class. Tinney ended up flipping to Michigan State.
The decision by Phillips does not mean Syracuse is looking to establish a consistent pipeline into the Constitution State. The Orange will take that year-by-year depending on the quality of prospects.
The Syracuse staff is very high on Phillips. They like his combination of shiftiness, cutting ability and speed. He was one of the Orange's top running backs on their recruiting board. Mission accomplished for Syracuse.
Adding a running back is big. Syracuse needed at least one in the 2014 class, and was able to grab one of their top targets. Phillips' commitment means the staff will not have to look towards second tier prospects even if they are unable to snag another prospect at the position.
Would they take all three? Doubtful. With Phillips in the fold, Syracuse will likely only take one more running back. That means it will be a first come, first serve type of situation for Ollison, Witter, and the other running backs the Orange are recruiting. With Ollison likely looking elsewhere, that leaves Witter as the only target left.
The addition of Phillips is viewed as a victory by the staff despite his lack of offers. They love his game and are ecstatic about being able to add one of their top targets at an important position. Don't think Phillips can't be used as more than a running back. Think about an Ashton Broyld type role where he lines up in the slot frequently in addition to being in the backfield.