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Jaelan Phillips’ Eligibility Will Be a Major Factor for ‘the New Miami’ in 2019

Miami’s defense will be more than just ‘reloaded’ if Phillips is able to play immediately.

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California v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

‘Portal U’ struck again on Thursday evening as former-UCLA linebacker/defensive end Jaelan Phillips announced he was taking his talents to South Beach.

Phillips’ official commitment was made known to the public on Twitter. “The Wait is Over...Officially a HURRICANE. I can’t wait to get to work, #TNM is going to be a problem for the opposition Thank you God for giving me a second chance the COMEBACK is going to be something serious.”

As the nation’s top overall recruit in 2017 (247), Phillips brings exceptional talent to the Hurricane defense. Standing at 6’5 and 253 pounds, Phillips also adds great size and athleticism to the position group. It’s no wonder as to why he was such a highly-touted recruit — finishing his Senior year at Redlands East Valley High School with 142 tackles (81 solo), and 21 sacks.

The addition of Jaelan Phillips is a great triumph for Miami’s staff, but there are risks involved. His concussion history is concerning, as it was rumored to be a major factor in his retirement from football in December. Phillips was extremely limited at UCLA due to injuries, only appearing in 10 total games in 2 years. In those 2 seasons, he recorded 41 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and 2 pass breakups. His statistics aren’t mindblowing by any means, but that can instantly change if he can stay on the field.

His chance to impress may come sooner than expected though, as it’s rumored that Phillips will be eligible to play immediately at Miami. Appearing in just 4 games last season, 2018 could be counted as a redshirt year for him due to the recent change in NCAA rules.

Miami’s 2019 recruiting class didn’t live up to expectations — missing out on some key prospects, but Manny Diaz and his staff have undoubtedly made up for it by bringing in multiple high-profile transfers. Aside from Phillips, Miami landed other defensive standouts in former-USC safety Bubba Bolden, former-Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill, and former UCLA teammate of Phillips in defensive lineman Chigozie Nnoruka.

Ultimately, Miami’s defense is revamped and could be even better than last year due to the recent influx of talent.