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Cal football recruiting: 2017 linebacker Jacob Phillips puts Bears in his top 7 schools!

What schools are we up against? How does Phillips feel about Cal? And more!

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough offseason that saw the transfers of Michael Barton and Hardy Nickerson, the graduation of Jalen Jefferson, and the retirement of linebacker Jake Kearney for medical reasons, Cal will head into the 2016 season with only 3 returning linebackers from the 2015 rotation. That fact, combined with the fact that there was only one linebacker in the 2016 recruiting class, means that Cal needs linebacker recruits in 2017.

Well, Cal fans, Jacob Phillips, one of the top ILB recruits in the 2017 class, has us in his top 7 schools!

The 7 schools, in no particular order, are Oregon, Cal, Miami, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame. Though Phillips declined to name his top 3 (though he does know who they are), the presumed favorites by many experts are Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

While the big name schools on that list may cause us to refrain from high hopes, we can look forward to the fact that Phillips spoke glowingly about Cal. What he said that he likes about Cal is the "whole idea of the West Coast, California feel." He notes that we have a strong academics at Cal (twice!). Furthermore, he touches on the abundance of job opportunities that an education at Cal will provide for him in the future. Phillips also touches on the Bay Area, saying that at Cal there is pretty much everything that you could want.

I'm only going to touch on what he said about Cal, but you can refer to the following video if you want to see what he says about the other 6 schools.

Phillips at the end talks about figuring out what you want most in a school. He mentions a good education, a historical football program, and scouts there to watch every year. Well, we fulfill 2 of those 3 requirements. We pass the good education with flying colors! And Cal generally sends players to the draft so there is scouts that are going to come watch every year (even if they're also coming to watch our opponents). So check, and check. While we may not be a historically strong college football program, we do have a strong, strong track record of sending players to the NFL. Also, Phillips can play his part in taking Cal football to the next level, perhaps helping establish Cal as a national power (please, please).

So, with some big-name football programs chasing a commitment from Phillips, he must be good right? The various scouting services seem to think so.
Here are their rankings for Jacob Phillips:
247: 3-stars, 20th ranked ILB, 420th ranked player nationally
Scout: 4-stars, 7th ranked ILB, 225th ranked player nationally
ESPN: 3-stars, 17th ranked ILB
Rivals: 4-stars, 3rd ranked ILB, 109th ranked player nationally

Phillips attended the Rivals Camp Series in Columbus where he was noted for a standout performance. They talked about his competitive nature and his size as two things that endear him to coaches.

But let's check out some highlights for ourselves.

Phillips looks like an extremely solid tackler, has great size and uses his strength to drive the ball-carrier back. Once he gets ahold of someone, there's no getting away. Furthermore, he uses his strength and size to shed blockers without great difficulty. He looks very solid against the run, and shows that he has the speed to catch players by the sideline.'

Furthermore, if you check out more videos from Rivals (throughout the video) and here (starting at 2:38) you'll see that Phillips has the speed and instincts for pass coverage as well. His physicality shines throughout, and it is something that we see him use to his advantage.

Needless to say, he's a fantastic player, one that I hope Cal can continue to make a great impression on.