Jaelan Phillips, defensive end, UCLA
With the departure of Takkarist McKinley to the NFL, the Bruins have a big void on the edge that must be filled. Based on early rumblings, that void might be filled by Phillips, who could seriously start from Day 1.
“Phillips was the top-ranked defensive player in the Class of 2017 and his performance throughout the spring only reinforced the idea that he could potentially help the Bruins right away,” wrote ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura when asked if Phillips will make an immediate impact. “There was an adjustment period, of course, but by the end of the 15 practices he certainly didn’t look like a player who had just enrolled in school.”
Phillips is very talented pass rusher who knows how to get his mitts on opposing quarterbacks. Even better, he has experience playing both defensive end and linebacker. His versatility, quickness and power make him a unique chess piece for UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley to utilize throughout the 2017 season.
This 6-foot-6, 260-pound monster of a freshman has the makings of a true star.