Clemson wasn't among the first college football teams to offer Jalyn Phillips of Lawrenceville, Ga., but the Tigers are the last team standing with him after his commitment announcement Monday afternoon.
Phillips, a safety, had narrowed his decision to Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma. At Clemson, he will join teammate cornerback Andrew Booth in the 2019 class.
Phillips didn't pick up his offer from Clemson until an unofficial visit in early June. But even at that point he had the Tigers in his top five and from there things just grew stronger between the Tigers and him.
“The atmosphere there is incredible,” Phillips said. “I have good relationships with all the coaches. Coach (Brent) Venables shows so much passion in running the defense that it gives me goosebumps. They are another program that stays in the winning column.”
Two other winning factors for Clemson with Phillips were the location and his long-standing relationship with safeties coach Mickey Conn.
“They are close to home and I know the entire coaching staff,” he said. “I’ve known Coach Conn since I was a little kid."
Last season Phillips was in on 58 tackles with 1 interception. At this point, he does not plan to sign until February. He's the fourth safety commitment for the class and the 23rd overall.
South Carolina added a pair of cornerbacks last week with commitments from DJ Daniel of Georgia Military JC and Cam Smith of Blythewood.
Daniel chose USC over Georgia and Kentucky. Daniel made his decision known at a gathering of family, coaches and teammates at the school gym. He becomes the first corner commitment in USC's 2019 recruiting class.
USC coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator/secondary coach Travaris Robinson pushed a message of need at the cornerback position on Daniel throughout the process.
“It’s more of a need than a want for them,” said Daniel. "I’m looking at the depth chart for them on the defensive side. The support system here is outstanding. I love the coaching staff."
Daniel is regarded as the top cover corner in the junior college ranks for this season. Last season, the Griffin, Ga., native had 26 tackles with 3 interceptions and 5 pass breakups.
Smith picked USC over Georgia and Tennessee. His recruiting stock went up this summer after strong camp performances at USC and Georgia.
Smith said several factors gave the Gamecocks the edge.
“The atmosphere and the fans and the new facilities,” he said. “I made sure there wasn’t a lot of depth above me so I could come in and try and play as a freshman.”
Smith also likes the direction Muschamp is taking the Gamecocks at this point.
“A great, building program. Right now they are rebuilding. They keep everybody in state like they had a couple of years ago,” he said.
Last season, playing in Fort Meade, Md., Smith had 61 tackles and 3 interceptions. The Gamecocks currently count 21 in their 2019 recruiting class including a pair of transfers.
The Gamecocks did miss on another target. Safety Jaylen McCollough of Powder Springs, Ga., committed to Tennessee.
Cornerback Devin Bush of New Orleans, who had cut his list to Clemson, LSU and Tennessee, announced he is reopening his recruiting to other programs. He also holds a USC offer.
Offensive lineman Darius Washington of Pensacola, Fla., has now firmed up his official visit to USC for Sept. 7. The Mississippi State commitment already had set visits to Mississippi State for Sept. 28 and Miami for Oct. 5.
USC has offered safety Dedrrick Holmes of Evans, Ga., and Clemson has had contact with last season's interception leader in the state of Georgia. Holmes is hearing a good bit from the Gamecocks at this point. He camped with the Gamecocks this summer and plans a return visit for the Georgia game.
"They like the way that I vision the field and they like the way that I come downhill making tackles," Holmes said of USC coaches Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson.
The state's top basketball prospect in the 2019 class will consider Clemson among his final four schools but not South Carolina.
Josiah James (6-6) of Porter-Gaud will take official visits to Clemson, Duke, Michigan State and Tennessee. USC was on James' list of nine before he cut it to four.
Also cut were Kansas, Virginia, Arizona and Florida State. James had a logical reason for picking each of the finalists. Tennessee was one one of his first offers going back to the ninth grade. His father played at Michigan State in the early 80s. Duke is Duke. And Clemson give him the home state connection.
"They (Clemson) were able to forge a good enough relationship," Porter-Gaud coach John Pearson said. "It was a process. Clemson was in there and did a great job and I think it has intrigued Josiah to the point that he's going to make an official visit."
Malcolm Wilson (6-11) of Ridge View has a final three of Clemson, Georgetown and Rice. He will take an official visit to Rice at the end of the month and one to Georgetown two weeks later. He’s not yet set his Clemson date.
Point guard Tommy Bruner of Gray Collegiate will take official visits to Massachusetts, College of Charleston and Missouri State. He’s also drawn interest from Wichita State and Oklahoma State.
The USC women are in the top 5 with 6-0 Breanna Beal of Rock Island, IL. The others are Illinois, Michigan, Duke and Louisville.
Aidan Hunter, a right-handed pitcher at Hanahan, committed to USC as part of its 2021 recruiting class.