"They were the first school to offer me," Aubrey Phillips told Inside Tennessee on Saturday evening. "They offered me last year. Today I was just around Coach Adkins talking and stuff, and when Coach Fulmer came over I told him I was ready to commit. I just felt the time was right."
After the loss last week of Brentwood Academy's Bullard to Notre Dame. the timing couldn't have been better for Tennessee, which also committed Rhea County O-lineman Kevin Revis at camp on Thursday.
Phillips follows in the footsteps of UT signee Marlon Walls who played his first three seasons of high school football in Memphis before transferring just over the border to Olive Branch after his mother got a job there.
"I talked to Marlon today," Phillips said. "He was glad to hear that I committed."
"Florida State finished second," he said of his pecking order. "I don't plan to take anymore visits. I've made my commitment to Tennessee."
A three-year starter at Memphis Booker T. Washington last fall, Phillips helped pace his team to a 9-2 record in 2007. Another prototypical weak-side tackle with the physical skills to protect the QB's backside and the discipline not to jump offsides. The big lineman carries a reported 3.85 GPA but may have been overlooked early because of his inner city high school's lack of tradition.
However Tennessee has known about Phillips for a while and scouted him closely at football camp last summer. He has formed a favorable opinion of the program and developed good relationships with the coaches.
"I like their staff because all of them are friendly and easy to talk to," he said. "I have gotten to know Coach Fulmer really well. We talk on the phone a lot."
Phillips is looking forward to playing for the Conquistadors this season, and Olive Branch may be good enough to challenge South Panola High School for football dominance in the Magnolia State. Although he has yet to play a game in Mississippi and didn't officially transfer until May, Phillips is already ranked among the state's top 40 prospects.
"Hopefully everything goes good," he said. "It should go smooth. I'm looking forward to it."
And now Phillips has one less thing to worry about as he makes that tedious transition.