Pac-12 Schools Focused on Four-Star DE Jaelan Phillips

Mar. 29 -- Redlands (Calif.) East Valley defensive end Jaelan Phillips has plenty of choices for college, but it will likely be a battle of Golden State schools for the four-star...

Redlands (Calif.) East Valley defensive end Jaelan Phillips (6-5.5, 235) has over 20 offers to his name.

But it will be tough to get the four-star out of the Golden State.

Still, that hasn't stopped a number of schools from trying, especially from the SEC, who have been some of the more recent schools to offer Phillips.

"It was huge getting some SEC offers, like LSU and Georgia," said Phillips.  "It's always awesome getting attention from schools back east and big in the football sense. I'm getting to talk with some new coaches.  Before that was Alabama and Notre Dame.  Those are the offers that as a California boy growing up, you dream of.  Alabama was icing on the cake.  And Florida will come through during the spring eval period and they could offer too."

But Phillips may have a hard time leaving California when it's all said and done and he's the focus of Stanford, UCLA and USC already, with the Bruins and Cardinal a little more out in front.

USC had Phillips on campus, though, last week, and they're making a push.

"I sat and talked with Coach KU (Kenechi Udeze) for about 30 minutes and I talked to Coach (Clay) Helton as well during that time," said Phillips.  "Then I sat in two brief defensive meetings.  Then I went out with Gavin Morris to practice while they gave my parents a facility tour.  "

Phillips got to watch USC practice and raved about what he saw.

"The practice was insanely energetic and intense and I absolutely loved it.  The coaches all have a unique intensity that I loved being around.  I talked a lot with Noah Jefferson about school and football during the practice and I talked with Coach Helton and Coach (Clancy) Pendergast again afterwards.  After practice, they took my parents and I around campus and to Heritage Hall."

In all, Phillips said the visit definitely left a good impression.

"The visit was great overall," said Phillips.  "It was awesome to be able to see the campus for the first time and see the facilities.  It definitely piqued my interest."

Earlier this month, Phillips made a return visit to Stanford and got to spend some time on campus.

"I loved it up there at Stanford and it was cool getting up there a second time and just really reaffirm everything to me," said Phillips.  "I got to spend more 1on1 time with the coaches as opposed to a Junior Day where there is less time."

That included a sit-down with head coach David Shaw and some other assistant coaches.

"I talked with Coach Shaw for an hour and that was great.  Then Coach (Lance) Anderson gave me a campus tour then I met with an academic adviser.  I also got to talk with Coach (Diron) Reynolds, the new defensive line coach who was at Oklahoma."

The Cardinal coaches emphasized where they see Phillips playing in their defense.

"They like me as a hybrid outside linebacker, like Trent Murphy or Joey Alfieri," said Phillips.  "Most schools are actually recruiting me as a 3-4 outside linebacker."

Except for UCLA, the school that Phillips grew up watching and has the most family ties.

"UCLA is recruiting me as a defensive end in their defense," said Phillips.

And the Bruins are hoping the long UCLA influence in Phillips' life will pay off.

"My dad, my aunt and my grandma all went there and my grandpa taught there," said Phillips.  "They're all definitely supportive of wherever I got, but that's definitely my family favorite.  I have a lot of interest in UCLA.  I grew up a UCLA fan and have always been heavy on UCLA.  As the recruiting process goes on, I'm seeing how genuine the coaches are."

Throw in the school and program and UCLA has a lot of what he's looking for.

"Their new facilities, their athletics and academics are all top notch," said Phillips.  "Coach Meat (Demetrice Martin) has been mainly recruiting me and he always has been.  Coach (Angus) McClure is also recruiting me.  I went a couple weeks ago for a quick visit, but I'm going to go back in April when they start spring practice and spend more time there."

Academically, Phillips has a 4.36 GPA and takes the SAT in May.

He has already been invited to The Opening Finals after a sterling performance earlier this month at The Opening Los Angeles regional.

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