Top Transfer Landing Spots for Former No. 1 Overall CFB Recruit Jaelan Phillips
Jaelan Phillips arrived at UCLA as the No. 1 overall prospect of the 2017 recruiting class, but he's poised to leave Los Angeles after two seasons.
Or, at least the school.
According to Chris Hummer of 247Sports, USC is interested in Phillips, who battled injuries during his two seasons. When healthy, however, the edge-rusher was a force. He collected 41 tackles with eight for loss and 4.5 sacks in 11 total appearances.
But as the Pac-12 is loaded with potential landing spots for Phillips, the apparent top candidate is located on the other coast. The rankings are based on potential fit and factor in existing interest while exploring other similar options that consider geography.
Phillips is expected to sit out 2019 as part of NCAA transfer rules. Once eligible, though, he could be an immediate star.
5. Arizona State
While no reports have linked Phillips to Arizona State, it's a quietly strong option for a player looking to further prove himself.
That's what ASU as a program is trying to do, too.
In 2018, the Sun Devils managed a 7-6 record. They need to replace quarterback Manny Wilkins and star receiver N'Keal Harry, but the defense returns a majority of its production. Plus, nine players with 20-plus tackles were freshmen or sophomores.
After the young talent has another year of development, Phillips could offer a pass-rushing jolt in 2020.
Phillips might not need to travel far.
Hummer's report pegged USC as a contender to land Phillips, who as a recruit unofficially visited and received an offer from the school.
But exactly how much of an appeal is USC right now? That's the big question in an offseason full of disappointing news for the Trojans. They finished 5-7 last year, lost Kliff Kingsbury to the NFL and are laboring on the recruiting trail in 2019.
Still, this is a brand-name program with obvious upside. The reeling Trojans would be wise to consider pursuing Phillips.
Since the initial report from Hummer, there has been no buzz about Stanford and Phillips.
The Cardinal sure would be a sensible landing spot, though.
Over the last four seasons, Stanford has ranked no better than 71st nationally in tackles for loss per game. Beginning with the 2018 campaign and working back toward 2015, the defense has finished 86th, 88th, 79th and 71st, respectively.
Phillips would provide a much-needed boost to the defensive front, one that must improve for Stanford to be a serious Pac-12 threat.
Excitement is building around the Oregon program, and a primary reason is the incoming recruiting class.
Headlined by 5-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Ducks are set to finalize the highest-ranked haul in team history. Thibodeaux himself is the top-rated prospect ever for Oregon, which holds the No. 8 class as national signing day nears.
In 2019, however, there are four senior defensive ends. Since Phillips will likely sit out 2019, he'd become eligible at an ideal moment.
While no rumors or reports have connected Phillips to Oregon, the combination of timing and opportunity should be appealing.
You know the saying, "Where there's smoke, there's fire?" If social media isn't lying―dangerous thought, we know―Phillips will be running through the smoke of Miami's iconic entrance soon.
Phillips himself has hinted at the Hurricanes with references to "TNM" (The New Miami), needing a new chain and retweeting posts from Miami players Tate Martell and Brevin Jordan.
For good measure, former UCLA defensive tackle Chigozie Nnoruka recently transferred to Miami. Also, defensive line coach Jess Simpson visited Phillips on Jan. 22, per Andrew Ivins of 247Sports.
It's not definite, but most signs are pointing Phillips toward The U.