Phillips: 'I'm Still Committed'
On Monday night Oklahoma rolled out the red carpet for newly-minted five-star linebacker Jacob Phillips. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Phillips hosted not only the trio he expected, head coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, and linebackers coach Tim Kish but they were joined by both outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons as well as defensive back assistant Kerry Cooks.
With such a full force crew coming out the Sooners had to give something of a heads up to Phillips' mother.
"They didn’t tell me specifically, coach Kish had called my mom last night and was like ‘I hope it’s not an issue but we’re bringing a few more people’. I thought it was just going to be coach Kish, and both Stoops. But they brought coach Cooks, coach Simmons, so that was kind of cool," Phillips said.
"I really liked it, I enjoyed having all of them around. Those are the people I’m going to be around for the next four years so it’s always good to have the time you can spend with them."
With all of the chatter about LSU over the past few weeks, that 'plan' to spend the next four years in Norman is, undoubtedly, music to the ears of Oklahoma fans. Interestingly enough the potential visit didn't come up at all during the well-attended in-home visit.
"It was just really them coming out to hang out with my family, kind of just shooting the breeze, talking about everything. It was good to catch up. My head coach was there, both my parents were there. There wasn’t too much recruiting talk but they did say I’ll be one of the driving forces of getting them over the hump and winning another national championship," he said.
"They were just super happy that I’m going to be there.
Throughout any, and all, conversations Phillips talks about 'we' and 'us', discusses recruiting other players to come with him to Oklahoma and the progress he is making in those pursuits. He also talks about his future exclusively in terms of being in Norman.
In every way he sounds like a future Oklahoma football player but what is one to make of his LSU unofficial visit this weekend?
"I’m not really sure. I can’t really find the words to describe it," he puzzled before being asked if it was just something he felt he needed to do.
"(I'm) flying down, I think for Friday through Sunday with my parents."
There still are as many questions as there are answers but when talking about his plans beyond his trip to Baton Rouge, La. he again reiterated where things stand.
"I’m not sure (of my plan), I know I’m committed to Oklahoma and I’m also taking a visit," he said.
But the one thing he is clear about is that while he will be taking a trip this weekend any other schools are wasting their time.
"It’s just been hectic, I don’t know with me visiting (LSU), a bunch of other coaches think that I’m open but I’m not. I don’t know, you know my messages are just constantly going off," he admitted.
While the Sooners were busy ingratiating themselves further to the Phillips family they were also very clear that they see the nation's No. 29 overall player and No. 2 inside linebacker as a player capable of an immediate impact.
"They told me that they want me to come in and replace Jordan (Evans) right away, so be ready for that. Also, they say the people that I’ll have around me are going to be really good, you know the outside linebackers and we’re trying to land a few more defensive lineman (as well)," Phillips explained.
Following his in-home visit he had a chance to speak with his future roommate in Norman.
"I just got off the phone with Rob (Barnes) and everything. I talk to (the 2017 class) it seems like every day," he said.
Though everyone else may be focused on Phillips' recruitment for him on Monday the big news was earning five-star status from Rivals. It's not that it's something Phillips has focused on but there's no question he enjoyed the moment of being seen as one of the nation's truly elite prospects.
"I was blessed enough to have done well during the (Army All-American) game and during the whole week and I was just happy that I got in. I got an opportunity to compete against the best and make my mark," he said.
"It’s just crazy, the whole process of coming this far and it really shows that God really puts no limits on the possibilities of your life. If you would have asked me freshman, sophomore, or even junior year that I would be in the position I am in as one of the most sought after linebackers in the nation. That’s one of those things you don’t expect, the more things that happen in my life I realize that anything is possible."