Football Recruiting

CB Clark Phillips Flips From Ohio State To Utah

Clark Phillips Ohio State Recruiting Buckeyes

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]

22 Responses

  1. Second time we lose a DB from California in the last minute. Both times after a change in coaches. Distance gets heavier as signing day approaches is my guess. And when you lose a big part of comfort level with that distant place, late, it does not help.

    This is an outstanding class. Why waste time writing this piece. I wish him well now time to talk about important stuff.

    1. Patrick — The piece was written because he was committed to Ohio State and didn’t sign with Ohio State. And some Buckeye fans may not have been aware that he signed with Utah and would have been asking what happened to Clark Phillips.

  3. I guess we can be thankful he didn’t flip to Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, LSU or ttun. That’s okay that he made his choice as it’s better now rather than later! This gives Coach Day and his staff time to find as good or better player in the end! Best to Phillips and hope he enjoys Utah. In the end, I think he’ll be sorry he flipped.

    1. Some people don’t want a challenge. It’s becoming the big fish in the small pond just by showing up versus having to work tremendously hard to differentiate yourself so you become a big fish in a big pond. Let’s track his success against those who would have been his teammates and see where he is at the end of 2022.

      1. Why is it not accepting a challenge? You have no idea what he wants, who he is, and what his goals are.

  4. f they don’t want to be a Buckeye, I don’t want them on the team anyway. Bad career move imo but at the same time we don’t know all the thinking behind this–does he have family close, his educational major, etc…

  5. So he decommitted from Ohio State because Jeff Hafley left for Boston College so he signed with Utah? Why not just sign with Boston College if he likes Hafley so much?

  6. Hey, let’s not be greedy. Utah needs to have at least a couple of good players, too. One player doth not a great or just good recruiting class make. If he doesn’t want to be a Buckeye, I’m sure Ryan Day & Co. don’t want him anyway. Sure, Phillips is supposed to be a good player, but his flip opens space probably for another DB that might prove to be just as good – or better.

  7. Why focus on someone who does not want to be a Buckeye ? Look forward,not backward.

    1. 1). So kid, here’s your choice. Play for Big Ten and National Championships or play for a potential PAC 12 championship perhaps I one of your 4 years.
      2). Develop to be a top college corner and a top NFL draft pick. Or develop into a median level college corner with hopes to get drafted. Oh and have a closer plane fight to your mommy.

  8. Who knows what’s in the kids heart or mind – speculation. But, we know he was good enough to have earned a scholarship offer from tOSU and for me that says he’s a very good athlete and likely – based on recent history – a high quality person. I’m happy for the kid – do what feels good. Go Bucks!

  9. Would enjoy knowing his thoughts on working under Kerry Coombs. I would like to see Kerry back at tOSU to replace Hafley.

  10. Charlie:
    True, I would imagine there are mitigating factors that play into the kid’s decision. “IF” pathway to playing time was one, I’d honestly be a bit miffed. The impending exodus of the Buckeye Secondary creates a wide open pathway for play. Additionally, with the WR recruits coming in, he’d be practicing against some of the best in the country. My hunch is it was about relationship. I haven’t researched who his position coach is in Utah, at the same time there is opportunity to wait until the new coach is named. If his talent what it’s projected to be—he’d be on the field anyway. I wish him luck!

  11. tOSU’s track record with DBs is proven, regardless of the position coach over the past. I have no doubt Coach Day will replace Coach Hafley with equivalent or stronger coaching talent. I wish the young man luck, but do think he passed on one of his better opportunities to learn from the best…

    1. It’s Coombs jobs if he wants it and right now no other candidates. Ohio state can’t recruit till the Jan.17 then they will see who available.

  12. Utah instead of Ohio State? What a joke….if that’s the kind of decision making he does, good riddance.

    1. Maybe he figures that’s the only place where he won’t have to compete against other guys wanting the same job.Ohio State doesn’t need competitive cowards.

    2. The thing is, while I agree OSU is hands down better, you have to look at it from their perspective. As a top-rated player, where are they going to have the easiest path to see the field? It’s going to be harder at Ohio State. You can argue that kids don’t want to compete anymore,and I don’t disagree, but at the end of the day when you have more competition in front of you, it’s more work to set yourself apart from the rest, and I imagine that’s why he chose Utah.

      1. Charlie,
        The problem with your argument of a kid’s mindset is that there are 130 D-I teams (FBS, if you must). There are 32 NFL teams. Kids who think that getting an easy ride through college really aren’t thinking it through and I think you’re selling kids short by suggesting it. The information is out there and today’s kids are very savvy. They know well which schools put the most at their position in “the League”.

    3. Way to trash a 17 year old. Good for you

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