Jacob Phillips sure had a unique official visit experience to Alabama over the weekend.
Phillips, a 4-star linebacker from East Nashville (Tenn.) Magnet School, was in Tuscaloosa for Dylan Moses’ commitment. The 5-star prospect chose Alabama over LSU on Sunday.
Now that affects Phillips’ standing with Alabama because the Tide have four linebacker commitments in the Class of 2017 in Moses and 4-star prospects VanDarius Cowan, Markail Benton and Gary Johnson.
Will Alabama take another true linebacker prospect? With numbers tight, it seems unlikely. The Crimson Tide would like to add a JACK prospect, which is a hybrid of outside linebacker and defensive end. Four-star prospects Jarez Parks and Christopher Allen are at the top of the list at JACK.
After Moses’ commitment though, Phillips was reassured by the coaching staff that there still was room for him.
“I was still there a day after he had committed, so I talked to all of the coaches and they were still on board with really wanting me,” Phillips said. “That didn’t change anything with my recruitment.
“With him committing, that now makes four commitments. I definitely asked them how many they’re willing to take, but they assured me that they still wanted my commitment.”
Alabama likes Phillips at inside linebacker, but Moses, Cowan and Benton are all viewed as inside prospects, too. The possibility of playing JACK at Alabama was not discussed by Phillips and the staff. The only thing mentioned to Phillips was the ability to get creative in the playbook with how to use him on third down. He’d have the opportunity to rush the passer and drop back in coverage.
Prior to Moses’ decision to commit, Phillips was definitely near or at the top of the list at linebacker. For about one or two months now, Alabama was the team trending for his commitment, which is scheduled for Oct. 12.
The shocking Moses commitment changes things, but if given the opportunity to commit to Alabama, Phillips said he has no problem at all being one of five linebacker recruits in the Tide’s class.
“I don’t have a problem coming in and competing with anybody, especially people in my grade,” Phillips told SEC Country. “I feel confident in the blessings I’ve been given. I want to be great, and I want to be pushed hard. I feel like the coaches there would help me do that.”
Phillips has one more official visit before his commitment. He’ll visit Texas A&M this weekend for the Aggies’ game against Tennessee. He already has taken official visits to Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon, in addition to his trip to Alabama.
The main difference he saw in Alabama than the other three schools he has visited was just the aura surrounding the program.
“You’re around more tradition at Alabama,” Phillips said. “It’s a school I’ve been wanting to see for a really long time. Even just being around Coach Saban, he’s just a great leader and a coach that many others look up to. When you’re around him and able to pick his brain, it’s really cool to think about.”
The nation’s No. 7 inside linebacker confirmed that the five schools listed above will be his five finalists when it comes time to announce his commitment.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
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