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Welcome to the U, Jaelan Phillips

The nation’s #1 recruit from the 2017 class announces his transfer from UCLA to Miami

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at UCLA
Welcome to Miami, JJ!
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After several tweets hinting at something big coming down the pipe tonight...

The Miami Hurricanes got a HUGE addition from the transfer portal to night when UCLA OLB/DE Jaelan Phillips announced his move from the west coast to Coral Gables.

The nation’s #1 overall recruit in the class of 2017, Phillips has all the talent in the world. He’s 6’5” 245lbs and will get after it on the defensive side of the ball. While he played OLB at UCLA, Phillips profiles as a dynamic defensive end for Miami moving forward.

Bringing in Phillips is not without risks, however. As a current college sophomore, Phillips will have to sit out the 2019 season before being eligible at Miami in 2020. So, he won’t be an immediate impact player but he could follow in Gerald Willis III’s footsteps as scout team defensive player of the year before hitting the field against other competition for the Canes.

Additionally, Phillips only played in 10 games TOTAL over 2 years at UCLA. This was both because he was young and the coaching staff was bringing him along, and due to the fact that Phillips had several injuries in his time in Westwood. Phillips battled concussion issues at UCLA, the last of which ended his season in 2018 after only 4 games, and led to him medically retiring from football, per a UCLA spokesperson.

Obviously, the concussion history is a big factor, and since it cost him more than half the 2018 season — and as recently as December was thought to be the cause for his retirement — this is an issue that will bear close monitoring both now and in the future. If Phillips is healthy, and the University of Miami believes through due diligence that he will be able to play football moving forward, this is a big big get for the Canes.

Miami has been the most active team in the Transfer Portal this offseason, and the move to add Phillips to the roster is yet another major move for Manny Diaz and The New Miami. Phillips joins Ohio State QB Tate Martell, Auburn RB Asa Martin, Buffalo WR KJ Osborn, Butler OL Tommy Kennedy, Virginia Tech DE Trevon Hill (maybe; Hill has signed a Financial Aid Agreement, which is non-binding), his former UCLA teammate DT Chigozie Nnoruka, and USC S Bubba Bolden in leaving their previous schools to join Miami via the transfer portal this offseason. No other team in CFB comes CLOSE to having added that kind of talent to the roster via the Transfer Portal such as Miami has.

In his 2 years at UCLA, Phillips played in 10 games (6 as a freshman in 2017 and 4 as a sophomore in 2018), had 28 tackles, 8 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, and 2 passes deflected. Obviously, the injury issues kept him off the field and his stats weren’t eye popping, but he has the size, athletic ability, and skill to be a top player for Miami’s DL moving forward.

For a trip down memory lane and a look at what Phillips brings to the table for the Canes (or will in 2020 when he’s eligible), here’s his HS HUDL highlight film. Yeah, that’s #1 recruit in the country type stuff to me.

Welcome to the U, JJ!