Freshman quarterback Austin Burton is one of four early enrollees with UCLA who are getting a head start on their college careers this spring. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
If you didn’t know any better, it would be hard to tab Jaelan Phillips as a kid who’s supposed to be in high school right now. On the football field, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound early enrollee blends right in among one of the deepest defensive line groups coach Angus McClure has ever had at the position. He answers media questions like a seasoned vet with good posture and direct eye contact. The one tell is his hair.
Phillips, who rose to high-school stardom with his black curls bursting from underneath his helmet, cut his signature locks before spring practice. He said he didn’t have time to style it anymore and the freshman, still conscious of the impression he was making on campus, didn’t want to look bad in class.
Scared that he would lose the power that made him the best recruit in the country, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, Phillips was relieved when he didn’t lose a step when UCLA started spring practice. His coaches feel the same way.
“He’s an excellent player,” McClure said. “I’m expecting him to compete every day. He’s really picked up our system.”
More on Phillips’ transition to college, along with UCLA’s three other early enrollees Darnay Holmes, Austin Burton and Jimmy Jaggers.
Here are notes/observations for the day: Continue reading “UCLA spring football day 14: The penultimate practice” »