COLUMBUS — Ohio State is heating up on the recruiting trail and landed one of their top overall targets in the Class of 2020: La Habra (Calif.) cornerback Clark Phillips.
The country’s fourth-ranked cornerback, Phillips chose the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, California, Oregon and UCLA, the group of programs that comprised his final five schools, a list he released in late April.
Now, while making his official visit to Ohio State, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Phillips has narrowed that list to one.
“The main reason why I chose Ohio State is my relationship with the entire staff, but primarily [co-defensive coordinator Jeff] Hafley and Ryan Day,” Phillips told Lettermen Row ahead of his official visit. “I see room for me to play early such and coach Hafley has been explaining to me the opportunity [at Ohio State] for me as a player.
“I want to be developed into the best player, son, man, future husband and father I can be. I firmly believe those guys can help me achieve my goals on and off the football field.”
The Buckeyes impressed Phillips and his family with their plan for him as a football player and a student.
“I feel like the opportunities are there when it comes to getting a great degree as well,” Phillips said. “The alumni base is, of course, fantastic so I’m really excited to be a Buckeye. My parents love the opportunity for me to expand and grow as a man and player. They are beyond excited for me.”
Phillips made his first visit to Ohio State at the end of March. The Buckeyes quickly became a primary player in his recruitment, something he suggested would happen when making it clear an offer from Ohio State would “shift his Top 10 completely.” The efforts by Hafley and Day have paid off in a big way ,and it’s because the two Buckeyes coaches never tried to force the issue.
“They were aggressive but didn’t pressure me,” Phillips said. “I could really appreciate that because many so schools don’t understand that they are not the only ones out there. For them to recruit me in a way that I felt special but not pressured was great. Plus, they built a separate relationship with my parents, and made it comfortable for them as well.”
The addition of Clark Phillips is the second defensive commitment of the week for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. The pickup further stretches Ohio State’s lead as the Big Ten’s top-ranked recruiting class and vaults the Buckeyes ahead of Notre Dame and into the No. 5-ranked class of 2020 nationally. He becomes the second defensive back to commit to Jeff Hafley, joining Lejond Cavazos of the IMG Academy.