Though Jeremy Pruitt didn’t view defensive back as the biggest position of need in the 2018 recruiting class for Tennessee, it’s undoubtedly a position the Vols need to address in the 2019 class. And they seem to have taken some positive steps in the recruitment of a highly-rated safety prospect this weekend.
Jalyn Phillips is a safety out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and he was one of the many visitors the Vols hosted this weekend as part of their Junior Day festivities. Phillips is rated as a four-star and the No. 350 overall player in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He’s currently the No. 30 safety in the class according to those rankings as well.
Heading into this past weekend, Phillips was viewed as an Oklahoma lean and was picking up scholarship offers left and right from some of the top schools in the country. But Tennessee seemed to have made a pretty big impact on him, because he tweeted out that his recruitment is “wide open” just shortly after leaving Tennessee.
Recruitment wide open 👀🤫
— JP⁵ (@jalyn_phillips) February 26, 2018
Phillips currently holds offers from over four dozen schools, and he’s added some big offers as of late. Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Florida State, and USC have all offered Phillips since 2018 began. He also holds offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, and many others.
Tennessee hosted Phillips on an unofficial visit back on January 13th of this year as well. He’s also unofficially visited Auburn and has unofficially visited Clemson twice, though both schools have yet to offer him. He recently unofficially visited Alabama too.
Phillips is an athletic safety who isn’t easily flummoxed by quarterbacks or shifty ball carries. He’s a sure tackler who can break free of blockers exceptionally well. He has solid awareness, and he can play the run very well. His film doesn’t include a ton of pass coverage, and we don’t really see his man-to-man skills. But he seems adept at playing zone and can take down any offensive player.
The Vols will be looking to replace Todd Kelly Jr. and Micah Abernathy at safety after the 2018 season. It’s also not beyond the realm of possibility that Nigel Warrior forgoes his senior season and declares for the NFL draft. So Tennessee needs to add a safety or two in the 2019 class to ensure they have depth at the position still.
Jalyn Phillips would be a big addition to Tennessee’s recruiting class if they can land him, but his recruitment is far from over.