Making the case: LB Jacob Phillips
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With National Signing Day only a week away, the majority of the nation's top recruits are already committed. But a few remain undecided, and a few commits are wavering on their choices.
Today, experts from the Rivals.com network examine where five-star linebacker Jacob Phillips might end up playing his college football. The candidates are Oklahoma, which has long held his verbal pledge, and LSU, which recently received a visit.
The situation: Phillips has been committed to Oklahoma since the fall, when he chose the Sooners after taking official visits to Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame and Texas A&M. At the time it seemed like there was nothing that could change his mind. But then came LSU’s strong close to the year and a full-court press from the Tigers' coaches led by Ed Orgeron. Last weekend Phillips was in Baton Rouge for an unofficial visit and is now weighing his options with a week until National Signing Day. Will it be the Sooners or the Tigers? We asked our team experts to state the case for their respective programs and let National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell issue a verdict.
Oklahoma: "The advantages for Oklahoma's case are considerable. You begin with a long-time relationship with inside linebackers coach Tim Kish, and then you follow up with the Sooners having a tremendous need at his position. As far as positional fit, the Sooners see him fitting into the role vacated by All-Big 12 first-teamer Jordan Evans. The fit makes sense as Evans was an athletic inside linebacker who looked at his best dropping into coverage, something that Phillips has also shown is a hallmark of his game." – Josh McCuistion, SoonerScoop.com
LSU: "I believe the LSU coaching staff, including personnel director Austin Thomas, has done an amazing job with Phillips the last few months. The fact that Phillips and his family visited LSU unofficially on their own dime speaks volumes. I think the draw of SEC competition, LSU’s need at linebacker and Dave Aranda are what ultimately flip him to the Tigers." – Mike Scarborough, TigerBait.com
The verdict: "I'm taking LSU because it's a more natural fit for Phillips scheme-wise, and the lure of the SEC and playing on a great defense will be too much to pass up. Oklahoma has a solid defense for the Big 12, but it can't compare to LSU, and the number of NFL draftees on that side of the ball speaks to that in recent years." - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director