On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Redlands East Valley’s star linebacker/defensive end, Jaelan Phillips, committed to attend the University of California, Los Angeles to continue his football career following high school.
Phillips, a five-star recruit in the 2017 class, was recently ranked third in the newly released 2017 ESPN 300, making him the highest ranked player to ever come out of Redlands.
REV’s star linebacker had received a countless amount of offers from some of the top universities across the nation, including Alabama, Michigan, and Louisiana State University among many others.
The day before he officially announced his decision, Phillips narrowed down his list to just five schools via social media, with these being UCLA, the University of Southern California, Notre Dame, Washington and Stanford.
The defensive end stated that one of the major factors in making this commitment was due to him being a fan of the Bruins all of his life, as his father and aunt had previously attended the university. In addition to these connections, another key element in Phillips’ decision was that he especially admired, “the sports broadcasting program” that UCLA has to offer.
Phillips made this life-changing decision with the help of his parents, and his coaches, as he holds a strong connection with all of them. Coach Kurt Bruich, REV’s head football coach, and Coach Chalen Tessitore, REV’s defensive coordinator, were specifically mentioned by Phillips in his description of his closest mentors.
When asked of Bruich’s influence on him as an individual, Phillips stated, “He’s like a second father to me. He’s tough and stern on me because he cares.”
According to Phillips, the REV coaches weren’t the only ones who helped their star player make his decision. In addition to Coach Bruich and Coach Tess, the UCLA football coaches aided Phillips in this decision-making process by making him feel wanted and by giving him advice that, “showed no bias in their favor.”
In addition to his work on the field, Phillips also stands out in the classroom. The Wildcat ensures that he leaves time for himself in dedication to his studies, which has helped teach him the true meaning of “prioritization.”
For the remainder of his high school career, he would like to, “keep his grades where they’re at and focus on the upcoming football season.” Phillips plans to graduate from high school a semester early in order to get a head start on his collegiate career.
At the university, Phillips looks to, “develop as a player and as a student.” While the ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL someday, the future Bruin is also considering a potential career in the sports broadcasting business, among the levels of “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” ESPN.
Phillips plans on building on his impressive season as a junior, in which he totaled 76 tackles and 10.5 sacks in leading REV to his second Citrus Belt League title in the program, aiming to achieve his third title this upcoming fall.