Early on Monday, news broke that Venice (Fla.) defensive athlete Clay Burton had switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Florida. By the end of the day, he wasn't the only current member of the Venice football team who would be a Gator. His teammate, junior two-way lineman Dante Phillips pledged his services as well.
"I made it official today and committed. I am a Gator," Phillips said. "They were my leader for a while, but the main reason I did it today is because when I moved to Venice me, Clay (Burton), and Trey (Burton), I lived with them for a while during the summer time and me and Clay always talked about how if we got the same offer, that we wanted to go to the same school. He committed today and I committed today too."
His relationship with the Burton brothers was one of the many reasons this was an easy decision for him to make.
Article Continues Below
"They are like brothers to me," Phillip said. "I can't wait to keep playing alongside them."
The 6-foot-6, 259-pound lineman said that the decision was also made easier by recent unofficial visits to Gainesville.
"I planned to commit to Florida at the beginning of the season and then I was going to take some visits elsewhere, but I kept going up and it kept feeling like home," Phillips said. "I was ready."
Phillips pledged to Florida over 17 other offers, and likely dozens more to come. He said that the coaching staff was key in his decision and they were elated when he shared the news with them earlier today.
"First I spoke with Coach (Urban) Meyer, and then Coach Mac (Dan McCarney) and then Coach (Steve) Addazio," Phillips said. "They were happy for me. They have now gotten Trey (Burton), Clay, and me, so that is three straight years they have gotten a prospect from here."
The Burton's and the Florida coaching staff were not the only reasons why he decided that being a Gator was the right decision for him.
"It is close to home because I am from Jacksonville, and it is only 45 minutes away from home," Phillips said. "I love the atmosphere. It is crazy at games. I can see myself playing there and playing for Coach Addazio or Coach McCarney because they are real down to earth people who keep it real with you. I can't go wrong going there."
With many more months to grow before stepping on campus, it is up in the air with regards to which position Phillips will initially play in the Swamp.
"They don't know which one they are going to put me at yet because of my weight," Phillips said. "I could play on either side. I do have a preference, I want to play defensive tackle or defensive end."
Venice and Phillips return to action on Friday evening when they square off against Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee.