Clark Phillips, one of the nation’s top cornerback prospects, just flipped his commitment from Ohio State and signed with Utah instead.
It’s a major blow for the Buckeyes’ 2020 class. Phillips is a 4-star prospect, considered the No. 4 cornerback and the 5th-best player in the state of California this year.
He committed to the Buckeyes in June 2019, picking them over offers from basically every significant school in the nation. Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Clemson, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame all offered Phillips a scholarship.
As recently as a week ago, there was no indication of any wavering on Phillips’ part. He had previously made visits to Alabama and Cal, but shut down his recruitment after committing to OSU.
However, last weekend, news broke that OSU defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley was leaving for the head coaching position at Boston College.
That was a major blow. Hafley was not just Phillips’ main recruiter, but also set to be his position coach.
The opportunity to learn from a coach with Hafley’s NFL background was a clear factor in Phillips’ commitment.
When Hafley was officially named Boston College’s head coach on Saturday, Phillips was already making an official visit to Utah.
Thursday, Phillips announced that he would be attending school in Salt Lake City instead of Columbus.
This is unquestionably a big loss for the Buckeyes, who have now lost top corner prospects to flips on Early Signing Day two years in a row.
Jordan Battle flipped from OSU to Alabama in December 2018.
All is not lost, however. The Buckeyes still have defensive backs Lejond Cavazos, Lathan Ransom, Ryan Watts, and Kourt Williams in the class. Cameron Martinez delayed his decision to evaluate things in the wake of Hafley’s departure, and will now sign in February.
That gives the Buckeyes time to hire Hafley’s replacement and ensure Martinez is comfortable with him before he signs.
Phillips plans to enroll early, so waiting until February wasn’t really a choice for him.
Losing Phillips isn’t a fatal blow, but it’s one that will undoubtedly sting for a while inside the walls of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
[Header Photo Courtesy: 247 sports]