Not many defensive tackles can also play tight end. And punt. And star for their high school basketball team.
Then again, Jordan Phillips isn't like most defensive tackles.
Today, Rival's No. 4 defensive tackle in the country and No. 1 overall prospect out of Kansas will sign with Oklahoma. He gives the Sooners a special player capable of making an immediate impact at a position OU could sure use some help.
“Wholeheartedly, I think he can help early,” said Lee LaMunyon, Phillips' coach at Towanda Circle. “The tools are there.”
Tools like an agile 6-foot-6, 290-pound frame that has allowed him to shine at a number of positions in a couple of sports. Last season for Circle High, Phillips registered 68 tackles and nine sacks on defense, then caught 17 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns on offense. He rushed for two scores, too.
“The kid has hands of gold,” LaMunyon said. “If it's close, he's going to catch it.”
Phillips also blocked two punts, averaged 37 yards on 40 punts and even returned a couple of kicks.
This season for the basketball team, Phillips is averaging more than 10 points and almost nine rebounds for Circle, which going into the week had an 11-2 record.
“He's got a lot of great athletic qualities about him,” LaMunyon said. “Unbelievably fast for his size.”
That combination of size and speed could help the Sooners at a position they ran out of bodies last season. Injuries to Adrian Taylor, Casey Walker and Daniel Noble prompted OU to revamp its defense to feature only one defensive tackle the final week of the regular season.
Walker, Noble, Stacy McGee and Jamarkus McFarland return, but the addition of Phillips, as well as fellow incoming Soooner tackles Marquis Anderson and Jordan Wade, should ensure OU does not face a similar predicament again this season.
“He's got some things to learn about playing at that level. He's not going to be able to get way the things he did playing against guys he's bigger than. So it might take a little time,” LaMunyon said. “But once he gets in that disciplined area, with guys really pushing the weights, pushing the technique, he's really going to excel.”