Kyle Philips is staying in Southern California.
The four-star receiver from San Marcos, Calif., announced his commitment to UCLA on Friday, choosing the Bruins after a recent visit to campus that completely validated everything he knew about the school and program.
“From an educational standpoint, I just can’t pass that up,” Philips told Scout.com. “It just gives me something amazing to fall back on. With the coaching staff, I’ve got a great relationship with coach (Jimmie) Dougherty and coach (Scott) White. I really like what coach Dougherty is doing with the receivers, so that was another big thing for me.
“Being close to home was another thing that was hard to pass up. I get to stay in California with amazing weather. I get to stay close to my family, which is very important to me, and my parents and grandparents get to watch me play. All those things were too much to pass on.”
The 5-foot-11, 176-pound prospect visited UCLA earlier this spring to watch a practice and, a week later, made it out to Utah for the spring game. In the end, though, what Philips saw in Westwood was enough to seal the deal. UCLA was the 19th overall offer for Philips, who picked the Bruins over the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Utah and Washington State, where both of his parents went to school.
“I really enjoyed UCLA's campus,” Philips said. “It’s nice and it’s close to home. The new facility is going to be amazing and the coaching staff I really enjoy talking to. I have a really good relationship with coach Dougherty because he was actually the one who offered me at Oregon, so we’ve been talking with each other for a while.
“Coach White is from San Diego and we’ve got a great relationship as well. We talk all the time, so it was great to get up there again and check practice out to see how they do things. ... I talked to coach (Jim) Mora and we didn’t talk much football. It was mostly him checking on how everything was going and it was more of a personal talk, which I really enjoyed.”
Philips, the No. 7-rated receiver in California for the 2018 class and No. 206 overall prospect in the Scout 300, said he sees himself filling UCLA’s slot receiver spot in the new offense. Darren Andrews, the leading pass catcher the last couple seasons, will be a redshirt senior this fall, so there should be an open competition for his role in the slot next spring.
The Bruins did not sign any receivers in the 2017 class.
“I am an early enrollee so I’ll be able to get up there shortly after I graduate in December, so I’m hoping to start working with the team right away and maybe get some playing time as a freshman,” Philips said.
With his own decision now out of the way, Philips plans to start helping UCLA's recruiting efforts. He became the sixth prospect and second Scout 300 member to join the Bruins' current class, less than a week after four-star safety Cam'ron Jones made his commitment public.
“I’ve spoken to a bunch of other recruits and a couple of them knew I was committing, so now I’m going to be pushing everyone on UCLA,” Philips said. “I’m going to try to build up the class, so hopefully we can have one of the best classes.
“I see everything I need in UCLA. The offense fits me well, the education is great and it’s close to home. My word is very important to me -- what I say I’m going to stay true to unless there would be a coaching change, which I just don’t believe would happen. I'm sticking to it."
Philips was credited with 65 receptions for 909 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games as a junior last season.