FAITH, FAMILY & FOOTBALL

Clark Phillips Goes In-Depth On Decision To De-Commit Ohio State, Join Utah

Aug 31, 2021, 3:11 PM
Copyright Bonneville International...
Copyright Bonneville International

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Every Utah fan knows why Clark Phillips III de-committed from Ohio State and joined the Utes but it wasn’t that simple of a process.

Clark Phillips originally committed verbally to Ohio State on June 21, 2019, the same day of his official visit in Columbus. Phillips didn’t take any more visits until December 14, 2019 when he came to Salt Lake City. Five days after his visit at Utah, Phillips de-committed from Ohio State and opened his recruitment.

Just before the early signing day, Phillips decided to join the Utah football family and signed his letter of intent on December 19, 2019. All of this was known as it was the most-asked question of the young cornerback ever since he stepped on campus.

But the whole process of why he de-committed from Ohio State, opening his recruitment which resulted in picking Utah was a very stressful and humbling process. Phillips discussed the entire process from start to finish on the first episode of Faith, Family and Football with Clark Phillips podcast.

You can listen to the full episode of the podcast, below.

Committing To Ohio State

One of the main reasons why Phillips picked Ohio State was because of his relationship with cornerbacks coach and defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

“We said we’re gonna commit to school, we’re gonna be fully committed, we’re gonna be all in,” Phillips said on the podcast. “So when looking for the school that was going to be possibly my destination, I look for coaches of faith. I look for coaches that valued family, and then coaches that love what they do. It was a turnoff to see coaches that kind of hopped around – it’s not a knock to anyone, we know it’s a business – but to see that it was more of like, okay, those aren’t the values that we’re looking for. So when looking for a school, we really wanted to be a part of something that was real, want to be a part of a family that really had my best interest.

“So when we landed on the Buckeyes, Jeff Hafley, who was the D-Coordinator, and DB coach at the time, he was our guy, he was what we felt like was the ideal situation,” Phillips continued. “Ryan Day, a great man, he made us feel at home, he made us feel like, you know, you’re going to be a part of this thing. You’re part of the family. We believe he had a faith, we believe Jeff Hafley, as well. Just the way that they conducted themselves on and off the field. Like what the players, the interaction with us, with the recruits, it was real, I would say organic. Then it felt really, really good. Then you know, the university, we also want to be a part of something that was really good on the football aspect and the football side of things. We want to be part of something that could turn into something special and somewhere I could get out from and so when we landed on them, it felt really good. We’re committed for a little while, silently for a little bit and then for about a year or so after. I’d say about a month before signing day, maybe about three, four weeks, I had already been talking to coach (Sharrieff) Shah every single Sunday for the longest time.”

Phillips still had conversations with Coach Shah after committing to Ohio State but the conversations were different.

“When I did commit to the Buckeyes, we had that conversation like, ‘hey, this is where I’m moving my recruitment,’ but now our conversations kind of transition from football to more family. That’s what I felt like was special about Coach Shah. He was able to have a real relationship with me at the time. I was a recruit, but he realized I was more than that. Just a kid trying to get to school at the next level. I looked at him almost as a second pops, because I was able to talk to him about things that sometimes, you know, I just wanted to learn about or things that were going on in my daily life.”

Check out the full podcast episode to get the entire backstory to his decision to join the Utes.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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