BLOG — One SEC school’s loss may end up benefiting another on the football field. When Venice, Fla., defensive tackle Dante Phillips found out Monday that he had been denied admission at the University of Florida, it potentially opened the door for another SEC school, possibly Ole Miss, to sign the former U.S. Army All-American.
The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Phillips, who can play either offensive or defensive line, was attempting to gain admission into Florida, the school he signed with out of high school in February, before Florida academic officials denied his appeal. Phillips was scheduled to enroll in Florida’s second summer term, but found out June 28 that he was denied admission when he received a call from head coach Will Muschamp about the situation. An appeal to reconsider the decision was then started by Phillips’ stepfather, Damon Wilson, who has been helping his son sort through the recruiting process.
Wilson said last Thursday that while several coaches have called about Phillips and his interest in coming to play for their respective school, he and his son were not going to look at visiting any other program until Florida made a final ruling. Now that the ruling been made, Wilson and Phillips are now looking to find a place to play before summer drills begin for teams in August.
Ole Miss has contacted Phillips, Wilson said last week, and in a story written by the Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu Monday, Phillips said he was going to visit Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, Miami and “one other big school in the SEC.” According to Canesport.com‘s Managing Editor, Matt Shodell, Wilson said that Phillips was going to visit Miami this weekend and that there were “three or four other SEC schools” they were considering.
Miami was Phillips’ choice coming out of high school. He had been committed to Florida for 2 1/2 years before signing with the Gators. Ole Miss’ connection to Phillips involves first-year defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff, who was on former Miami coach Randy Shannon’s staff through the 2010 season.
Ole Miss has not made contact with Venice’s head coach John Peacock, who said that he had been in contact with Wilson since Phillips was denied admission at Florida. Two calls placed to Wilson’s cell phone today about Ole Miss’ interest in Phillips have not been returned.
While Phillips has been denied admission at Florida, Wilson said he has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. (July 11, 2012)