Barry Jackson

Here’s what the Canes’ new five-star transfer has in mind for the 2019 season

Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III wants the turnover chain.

Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III wants the turnover chain. The UM will play LSU in the season opener this weekend.
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Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III wants the turnover chain. The UM will play LSU in the season opener this weekend.

Some Hurricanes notes on a Saturday:

Jaelan Phillips, the ballyhooed former five-star recruit who is transferring to UM, has decided to sit out the 2019 season instead of pursuing a waiver to allow him to play.

Phillips, who played his first two college seasons at UCLA, told me on Saturday that he will sit out the 2019 season and “take the time to fully recover and get stronger.”

Because Phillips appeared in four games last season, he could count last season as a redshirt season. But because he is transferring to another FBS school, he would have needed the NCAA to grant him a medical waiver to play in 2019. But Phillips indicated he won’t pursue one.

The five-star Phillips was ranked the No. 1 recruit in the 247Sports composite Class of 2017 rankings coming out of at Redlands East Valley in California. Rivals rated him the No. 2 prospect in the nation, and ESPN rated him third.

Phillips had 21 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 3 1/2 sacks (second on the team) and two pass breakups his freshman year at UCLA in 2017. Last season in those four games, he had 20 tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry.

But his career has been disrupted by injuries. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Phillips was sidelined by an ankle injury and a concussion in 2017 and suffered another concussion in 2018. He also underwent two surgeries last offseason offseason because of a wrist injury after being hit by a car.”

UCLA declared Phillips out for the season on October 15, 2018, and Phillips announced in mid December that “due to multiple injuries, I have decided to withdraw from UCLA.”

He’s now taking classes at a Los Angeles area community college and plans to enroll at UM this summer.

Phillips played some outside linebacker at UCLA but expects to play defensive end at UM.

Regarding what position he will play, Phillips told me: “Honestly we haven’t talked much about logistics but seeing that [defensive line coach Jess] Simpson recruited me, I’d say probably d-end. And I like playing both spots equally, so wherever they feel I can make the most impact.”

UM message boards lit up Saturday with multiple posts that UM coach Manny Diaz lured a bunch of high school coaches away from FSU’s sessions with high school coaches at a Nike coach’s clinic in Orlando on Friday.

A high school coach in attendance conveyed to The Miami Herald that Diaz and UM coaches had a suite set up at the clinic, and high school coaches were invited to vist UM in the suite late Friday afternoon. UM served the coaches beer. But this type of thing - setting up a suite for coaches and giving them alcohol - is hardly unprecedented at clinics, the coach said.

There were no players in attendance.

That coach emphasized that from what he saw, UM made no blatant attempt to torpedo FSU’s visit with high school coaches.

But the coach said some high school coaches opted to stay in the UM suite instead of hearing an address from FSU coach Willie Taggert or individual sessions with FSU assistants. So whether it was intentional or not, UM diverted attention of some high school coaches away from FSU.

These clinics are learning experiences for high school coaches, allowing them to interact with and pick the brain of college coaches.

Though UM has a deal with Adidas, there is nothing to preclude Adidas schools from attending the Nike clinic.

Though no announcement has yet been made, David Cooney has accepted the job as UM’s new director of recruiting, according to a source.

Cooney has been a quality control assistant on offense the past two seasons after serving as the offensive coordinator at Miami Southridge High in 2016.

Diaz praised Cooney for his December and January work in recruiting, including UM luring grad transfer receiver K.J. Osborn from Buffalo.

UM fired pro personnel director Matt Doherty and two other recruiting officials earlier this month.

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