When the Miami football team kicks off the 2020 season against Temple September 5 at Hard Rock Stadium, Hurricanes fans will have been waiting for more than 18 months to see highly touted transfer defensive end Jaelan Phillips make his debut.
Jaelan Phillips was the number one signee in the country with UCLA in 2017. After dealing with injuries with the Bruins Phillips transferred to Miami in February 2019. There is a lot of anticipation for the pass rush on the Miami football team in 2020 with Phillips, Quincy Roche and Greg Rousseau.
Roche joins the Miami football program as a graduate transfer from Temple for the 2020 season. Rising redshirt sophomore Rousseau leads all returnees in college football in 2020 with 15.5 sacks in 2019. Phillips had 41 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for UCLA in 2017 and 2018.
Phillips was a 6’5, 245 pound outside linebacker in the Bruins’ 3-4 defense under Jim Mora Jr. Under Miami strength and conditioning coach David Feeley, Phillips has added 13 pounds of muscle to prepare for his move to defensive end in the Miami 4-3 defense. Phillips is the prototypical DE.
For all the freakish athleticism that Rousseau possesses at 6’7 253 pounds, Miami co-defensive coordinator Blake Baker said last month that Phillips is the type of player that would be created for a video game. Everyone associated with the Miami football program is looking forward to what Phillips can do in 2020.
“He had not played football for close to two years, but man he is just a natural. You know how you create-a-player on a video game? That is how you create a defensive end. He still has a long way to go after not playing the game for a couple years. He is still knocking the rust off.”
Miami will have the luxury of being able to use Phillips as a situational pass rusher until he is completely healthy. In addition to Rousseau, Roche and Phillips the Hurricanes defensive staff is high on redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey. Redshirt freshman Cameron Williams adds depth beyond the top four.
Philips, Roche and Rousseau are all likely to be in the game on pass-rushing downs. Rousseau played defensive tackle rushing the passer occasionally in 2019. Putting Roche and Phillips on the edge and Rousseau inside to rush the passer is going to cause a lot of havoc against opposing offenses by Miami in 2020.