END ZONE NOTES: Former Wildcat named second-team All-American …
There was a reason that Jaelan Phillips sat out last week’s University of Miami Cheez-It Bowl game.
The former Redlands East Valley defensive end, who has climbed to top-flight status among that school’s best-ever players, will declare for the NFL draft.
Phillips, incidentally, is a 2020 second-team Associated Press All-American pick, which isn’t a bad way to get into a pro scout prospect’s logbook. Trust us on this, though: He’s already there.
He’s 6-foot, 6-inches (some say he’s 6-5). Phillips might be milling around 260 pounds. Counting his mauler’s status — eight QB sacks, around 16 hits for lost yardage, plus a bunch of aggressive plays — that might just be the type of firehouse prospect an NFL team is seeking for a defensive alignment.
Someone, incidentally, has already projected Phillips on a second-round pick to the New England Patriots.
It’s just the beginning of myriad landslide mock drafts that will be tossed around between now and Draft 2021 day.
We’re likely to see REV’s third-ever NFL roster member, following the likes of RB Chris Polk, current OLB Kylie Fitts and now, likely, Phillips.
They played like grown men in high school. Coaching expertise must be included.
Stray thought: Too bad Phillips, Fitts and Polk couldn’t have each played on the same roster together at REV.
Birth dates just didn’t add up.
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Following up on Phillips’ winning that spot on the AP All-American team:
Consider that neither Polk nor Fitts was ever able to reach that status.
Polk, who was twice a 1,000-yard runner at the University of Washington, was first-team All-Pac 12. Undrafted in the NFL draft, Polk surfaced in Philadelphia for three seasons and another year in Houston.
Fitts who, incidentally, was placed on Injured Reserve by Arizona on Dec. 28, made the Senior Bowl roster in 2018. Passing over initial issues at both USC and UCLA, eventually landing at Utah, Fitts was a pass-rushing whiz that attracted the likes of Chicago, the Bears drafting him on the sixth round in 2019.
Phillips’ All-American status, meanwhile, shouldn’t go unnoticed. Playing in a highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference — Clemson, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Boston College, etc. — has to attract plenty of attention from NFL scouting departments.
Don’t forget, either, that Phillips was a top-ranked elite prep player upon his recruitment phase. He wound up originally at UCLA, like Fitts a few years earlier, before moving on to Miami.