Clark Phillips III has exceeded expectations, even before the Utah Football Championship. Is this his last season with Utis?

In hindsight, Clark Phillips Sr. wishes he’d brought a video camera to his son’s first game.

His son, Clark Phillips III, was a regular at football matches for family members and was eager to enter the field himself, but was too young to play football. So at the age of three, the boy’s parents scored him in soccer instead.

“Once they put him in the game, he took a corner like safety and attacked the first kid he saw with the ball,” Clark Sr. recalls. “He’d been going to soccer games forever, and that was lovely. He took a nice corner and everyone exploded, but when he was 3 he started crying, ‘I don’t know what I did wrong.'”

“We knew he was a ball player.”

This was confirmed many times in the ensuing years, even if his father still wished he had his first treatment in the movie.

The Utah Corner team has set and fulfilled expectations on every level—from an outstanding career at La Habra High School in California to becoming one of the best recruits in the country, from starting out as a true freshman at Utes State to seeing his name now in the first round of drafts. NFL Phantom.

So perhaps the tale of that first intervention, and the video camera that wasn’t, is somehow cautionary.

Take it all in now, Utah fans, because these moments don’t last forever.

‘We could tell he was different early on’

Even before football at the age of three, Clark Sr. was already starting to get a clear picture of his son’s athletic prowess.

Clark Sr. remembers taking his son to the playground when he was about 18 months old.

“Other mothers and fathers looked at him strangely because he was going through monkey bars before he was two years old,” Clark Sr. said. “His upper body was crazy, he was doing horrible things like that. Talking about him he’s not a tall corner, but he was the big kid when he was little up to fifth or sixth grade.

“We could tell he was different early on.”

Being different early does not only apply to football but also to his personality.

For starters, Clark Sr. is chaplain at the Unity Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, which his grandfather founded 60 years ago. Their mother said that Clark III and his three brothers took an active part in the church as children.

“We had them make calls when they were younger, just for the convenience of making calls with adults,” Lakisha Phillips said. Young Clark III got to “stand comfortably in front of church, give sermons, and those kinds of things because we’ve been in different work situations, and we’ve run big teams, and we’ve shared these things with the kids. … He’s set up to talk to people and manage situations in a way specific”.

“It’s intentional, it’s purposeful”

Clark’s third youth football career saw him play backwards, but as high school approached, Clark Sr. and those around him saw his lateral pace, explosiveness and ability change direction as a better defensive back.

Whatever the initial setback this change might have been, Clark III took the new position, began to like it and began to excel in it. This fierce competitiveness fostered on the youth soccer fields when he was now three years old fueled his desire to be “on the island” so to speak as his cornerstone, engaging in one-on-one battles with wide receivers.

“I think the first impression was definitely how purposeful he is. He’s intentional and purposeful,” Clark III coach Frank Mazzuta said at La Habra High. “He’s not your typical 14-year-old. It is purposeful. He had his own goals and dreams and things wouldn’t stand in his way. It was very important.”

This grit and work ethic made Clarke third in the starting line-up on La Habra’s undergraduate team as a sophomore. By the fourth game of that season, everything changed. In front of Colony, he intercepted three passes and brought them all back to touch down in a 49-14 win. By the time that weekend was over, the University of California and Washington had shown up. These two Pac-12 programs soon owned a lot of companies.

In the spring of his second year, Clark III was invited to camp in Alabama. As Mazuta says, Clark III did well in what was essentially a private exercise with him and other priority recruits. Soon after, with preparations for the junior season, Clark III told Mazzotta that he wanted to play on attack in an effort to help his team.

“He played the baccarat receiver, and it was incredible,” Mazotta said. “When he made that commitment to attack, he wasn’t flirting. He would have been our best receiver.”

Clark finished third the season with 54 catches for 1,210 and 19 touchdowns.

The following spring as his first year was winding up, new Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkissian replayed Clark’s third wide show. There was no chance that Clarke III would play a humiliating role in college, but this second show speaks to how dynamic he is as a high school senior.

“I think you have to see it in action, which is where it all begins,” Mazotta said. “It’s a story that pops up for my players. Number 1, they love football. The big players love to play football, and that includes training. These guys don’t just wait for Fridays.”

“The timing was a boom boom”

Clark III’s early maturity helped carry him through a recruiting process in which he was in the top 50 potential, meaning all the heavyweights, all the contenders for the convention and the national championships were calling out.

As parents, Clark Sr. has likened himself and Lakisha to senior partners in the process, but things did not go beyond Clark’s third head. He asked questions, not afraid to disagree. He was sharp, spoke his feelings, and didn’t worry about anything.

Whatever disagreements there might be, the family agreed on at least one important thing: Don’t use all five official visits. Use four, keep one in the bag. You never know what might happen.

Clark III formally visited Cale, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and UCLA before committing to the Buckeyes. It remained that way for about six months, until Jeff Havley, Ohio State’s Joint Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Back Coach, was named head coach for Clark III, as head coach at Boston College.

The next day, the entire Phillips family in Salt Lake City was on a last-minute official visit because, first, they had the foresight to sit down on that last official visit, and two, Utes coach Sharif Shah kept in touch even after that. Ohio State Commitment.

“We were literally talking to Utah at a dinner party, with a video showing Ohio,” Clark Sr. said. “The timing was a boom boom.”

On December 19, the first day of the early signing term, Clark III dropped out of Ohio and signed a national letter of intent with Utah as the program’s highest-grossing recruit ever according to 247sports composite.

“To Utah’s credit,” said Clark Sr., “they were never out of his enlistment.” “We had some very big name 10 schools, and they actually responded to us after getting annoyed with Utah’s commitment that we didn’t give them the first shot after ending his commitment. “Why didn’t you call us, you were #1 on our board,” but they stopped recruiting. We supported him. And he went where he felt comfortable. Some men stopped calling, stopped recruiting, stopped doing those little things and got lost because of it.”

Shah continued to do his job that summer and fall, resulting in Clark III, which exceeded early expectations.

As a sophomore (2020 not counted toward eligibility due to the pandemic), he started all 14 games, finished with 63 tackles, 15 defensive passes, including his second and third interceptions of his career, and two mandatory fouls.

It was named All-Pac-12, and just last week, it received the AP All-American’s second pre-season team nod. With those expectations growing, it looks like Clark III is ready to rise to the challenge.

“If you’re at the facility, he’ll say. I’m coming, Coach.” Shah said, “He had an insatiable appetite from the start and fell in love with the movie.” “If you really want to be the player you aspire to be, fall in love with the movie. Fall in love with watching yourself, cool nooks, great receivers and never get tired of the jewels, gold nuggets, included in the movie study. His acumen increased, and his desire to become a smart football player increased a lot. I love his desire to make plays.”

Clark has almost the same approach.

Shah can briefly remember sitting at Jaylon Johnson’s home in Fresno, California six years ago. A four-star and top 100 recruit, Johnson had a Utah plan, and it had an expiration date.

“Coach, I’ll be with you for three years, I’ll get my degree, I’ll go to the league,” Shah Johnson recalls.

When Johnson arrived in Utah in the summer of 2017, Shah told Johnson that what he wanted to achieve would require hard work. He couldn’t party like some of his teammates, he needed to get more sleep, and he needed to be more disciplined than anyone else.

Johnson was a second-round pick for the Chicago Bears in 2020 and started all 28 games he’s played.

Shah now compares Clark III to Johnson, going so far as to say the latter has “almost the same approach,” which begs the question, is this third season his last season in Utah?

“These are my goals. I want to be an all-conference player, I want to be here with you all these many years, I want to get my degree, I want to get into the league.” “Clark has worked himself in an exceptional position as someone to think about the league, and a potential first-round prospect. And for good reason. He’s reached maturity, and he’s never come to Utah following anyone else’s footsteps.”

Clarke Sr. added, “I told the coaches, no matter what your room looks like, no matter what your situation looks like, not because he’s my son, but because he’s crazy, I’ll bet on Clark. He’s ruthless and he’ll find a way. He’ll sleep in the facility, he’ll compete, and he’ll find a way to get on the field. “.

“He has a way of knowing what he wants.”

Clark III is currently focused on Florida and bans fake drafts and NFL ideas.

Unless…

“Only when Mom, Mom and Dad remember him,” Clark III said in the spring. “I don’t do my best to look at those things, there will always be. The same people who annoy you are the ones who will put you down if you have a bad game.

“Not at all really, unless my parents mentioned it.”

Of course, they will not miss anything.

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