The opportunity in football to go from nothing to something big can sometime be highly emotional for a recruit. Such was the case with OT Elijah Philippe (6-7 300) of Lackawanna JC, PA. He had one D2 offer and one D3 offer after finishing his career at Lower Merion High School, alma mater of Kobe Bryant. Not satisfied, he enrolled at Lackawanna where he played left tackle last season.
USC recruiter Pete Lembo was in Pennsylvania last week and went by Lackawanna where he got the chance to see Philippe, and he potentially changed the course of his football career.
“He didn’t ask me too many football stuff, it was more stuff about my past,” Philippe said. “We had a great conversation. He really liked me based off the conversation we had. They took my film and sent it back. The O-line coach reviewed it. He liked it. The whole offensive coaching staff reviewed it. On Monday they called me. Me and Coach Lembo had a nice twenty-minute-long conversation. They gave me the offer and it felt unreal. Coming out of high school with no offers, to go to a JUCO for a year and then get an offer from South Carolina, I immediately called my mom. I was crying. It felt great.”
Philippe didn’t know all that much about the USC program until he met Lembo. He hasn’t scheduled a visit yet but he plans to at some point. In the meantime, he and Lembo are keeping in touch, and he’s having some contact from offensive line coach Greg Adkins.
“I haven’t really spoken on the phone or in person with anybody but Coach Lembo, but me and Coach Adkins have had conversations over text,” Philippe said. “Coach Lembo, we’ve talked on the phone multiple times. We talked in person. All of their vibes are good. I really loved the conversations we had.”
Phillipe added that it’s fairly obvious why Lembo and Adkins would want him in their program.
“I’m big,” Philippe said. “I’m 6-7, 300. I’m athletic. I can learn the technique really quickly, pick up schemes really quickly. And I play 100 percent.”
The same day USC offered Virginia Tech followed with an offer, and Philippe said right now those are his two best opportunities. But he knows the word about his is just getting out in recruiting circles, so he wants to wait on a decision to see what else materializes.
“I definitely feel like I have more to come,” Philippe said. “I have time. I don’t have to rush the decision too soon. I’m going to wait until after my season.”
Philippe is on track to graduate in December and will have three years to play two at the next level.
Video Highlights of Elijah Philippe