Redlands (Calif.) East Valley five-star defensive end Jaelan Phillips is about as solid as a commit to UCLA as you will find, but that has not stopped USC from pursuing him.
And why not? USC nabbed five-stars Oluwole Betiku and Michael Pittman away from UCLA last year.
Of course, with two UCLA alums as parents, Phillips isn’t just another Bruin commit.
Saturday, Phillips made his way to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the Trojans play for the first time this year.
“I wanted to go watch some great quality football with my friends,” said Phillips. “I was with my teammate Drew Douglass and Kellen Pachot, who goes to Citrus Valley High School.
“Kellen use to be my teammate, but he’s a stud slot receiver for Citrus Valley now. Drew is coming back from an ACL tear and is a super reliable big target.
“They’re both diehard SC fans, so we decided to go to the game together Saturday. We got there at around 4:30 p.m., so we went straight to the field.”
On the sidelines Phillips met up with USC defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze and High School Relations Director Gavin Morris.
“They were ecstatic to see me,” said Phillips. “It was actually really cool seeing them again.
“I have a really good relationship with Coach KU in particular. I talked to all of the coaches, but mainly KU.”
Although Phillips committed to UCLA last April, the Trojans coaching staff has remained in constant communication with him.
“They’re recruiting me very hard,” said Phillips. “The coaches text me pretty often.
“They don’t really touch on the football season, they just talk about how special of a place USC is and how they will develop me as a player, student and person.”
While Phillips spent his Saturday watching USC blow out Arizona State 41-20, his heart is still with the Bruins.
In April, Phillips stated that UCLA’s proximity to home, his connection to the coaches and the opportunity to major in Broadcast Communications as major factors in his decision to commit to the Bruins.
“I’m still very solid to UCLA,” said Phillips. “I’m solid for all of the reasons that I chose UCLA in the first place. It’s still the place for me.”
Phillips is undecided about a potential official visit tour, but he does plan to be back at the Coliseum again this season for another Trojan game.
“I’m not entirely sure yet about trips, but I’m coming back to SC for the Oregon game,” said Phillips. “I’m just not sure about anything else.”