Jaelan Phillips could be National Comeback Player of the Year

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 09 (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 09 (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes defensive end Jaelan Phillips has the opportunity for a big year in 2020 and is the projected National Comeback Player of the Year via The Athletic.

Jaelan Phillips was the top-ranked signee in the class of 2017. Injuries and other issues have stunted the growth that Phillips was expected to have when he signed with UCLA. Most expected Phillips to be in the NFL by now. After transferring to Miami in 2019, Phillips has the opportunity for a breakout season.

Nationally Phillips is considered by The Athletic as the top of  “Blue-chippers turned breakout candidates: 10 players you shouldn’t forget about.”  The decision by redshirt sophomore Greg Rousseau to opt-out of the 2020 season elevated Phillips to first-team defensive end opposite Quincy Roche.

Rousseau was named a first-team preseason all-American by the Associated Press earlier this week and Roche was selected to the second-team. If Phillips lives up to his potential he has a chance to put up big numbers and earn all-American honors of his own in 2020.

The Athletic profiled Phillips issues at UCLA and how he intends to make an epic comeback for Miami in 2020. Phillips has the talent to become an impact player for the Hurricanes this fall. Staying healthy and focused will be critical as part of a Miami defensive line that hopes to continue as one of the best in FBS.

"1. DE Jaelan Phillips, MiamiRecruiting ranking: No. 1 overall recruit in the 247Sports Composite, Class of 2017It was tempting to just go ahead and name this list of players the Jaelan Phillips All-Stars. Phillips is pretty much the epitome of untapped but exciting five-star potential.Phillips…admits in hindsight that between the injuries and UCLA’s coaching change following the 2017 season, he’d struggled to stay focused and invested in his second year of college.Miami defensive line coach Todd Stroud has said he’d put Phillips “in the 99th percentile” of all the players he’s ever coached in terms of physical attributes. (Phillips said:)“I definitely feel great…At this point, I’m just trying to stay healthy and be the best version of myself I can be.”"

Miami finished seventh in the nation with 46 sacks in 2019. With Phillips, Roche and redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey as the entirely new rotation of edge rushers in 2020, the Hurricanes should be able to approach those numbers. Physically, Phillips is one of the most gifted pass rushers in college football.

Next. National CFB analyst says Phillips in freak shape. dark

In his fourth season in college with a chance at an NFL future 2020 has to be the season for Phillips to produce on the field. In the Miami defense, he has a chance to do so. Manny Diaz has continually produced talent on the defensive line in his Hurricanes tenure. Phillips has a chance to be the best.