Utah gets a big flip on Day 2 of early signing period
The ripple effect of a coaching change at Boston College seems to have benefited Utah in recruiting.
The Utes signed highly touted cornerback Clark Phillips on Thursday, the second day of the early signing period. Phillips had been committed to Ohio State, but flipped late after Buckeyes co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley took the head coaching job at Boston College.
Hafley replaces Steve Addazio, who was fired after the regular season. The 40-year-old Hafley was in his first season with the Buckeyes after spending several years as an NFL assistant. Still, he quickly developed into one of Ohio State’s top recruiters.
Phillips, from La Habra, California, is a four-star prospect and the fourth-rated cornerback in the 2020 class, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings.
Utah, like Ohio State, will be looking to replace some NFL talent in the secondary next season and Phillips should have an opportunity to compete right away.
After Phillips made his decision, Utah football’s official Twitter account posted: “ THE University of Utah,” a poke at Ohio State. The Buckeyes like to emphasize the THE when referring to their school.
Ohio State has another highly regarded defensive back prospect, Cameron Martinez from Michigan, who is committed to the Buckeyes but plans to wait until the next signing period in February to sign.
MORE UTES NEWS
It was a newsworthy Day 2 for Utah, the defending Pac-12 South champion.
Before landing Phillips, coach Kyle Whittingham landed Xavier Carlton, a four-star defensive lineman from Utah who was also looking at Ohio State and Washington, and lost out on three-star linebacker Jaylan Ford, who is from Texas and decided to flip to the Longhorns.
Only three or four more years in the NFL and running back Frank Gore might get to play with his son. The 36-year-old Gore, who recently surpassed 15,000 career yards rushing, has a son named Frank Gore Jr., who signed with Southern Mississippi.
Gore Jr. is a three-star running back from Miami who was committed to Florida Atlantic before coach Lane Kiffin left the Owls to become Mississippi coach.
RECRUITING IN MEMPHIS
New Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has a tremendous reputation as a recruiter and he will need to be particularly convincing to get the Razorbacks on track.
Some positive early signs for the longtime SEC offensive line coach now leading Arkansas: Four-star receiver Darin Turner from Memphis signed with Arkansas, a day after three-star offensive lineman Ray Curry Jr. flipped from Missouri to Arkansas (where former Missouri head coach Barry Odom is now the defensive coordinator).
Arkansas still has a lot of work to do to fill a class that had only nine signees Thursday afternoon, but flipping four-star defensive back Myles Slusher from Oregon and making some headway in Memphis is encouraging.