OT Elijah Phillipe (6-7 300) of Lackawanna JC, PA, who is a native of Philadelphia, made his first official visit Thursday thru Saturday, and he came to the hot South to check out USC. Phillipe knew he was in store for a different experience as soon as he stepped off the plane in Columbia.
“I won’t lie, the heat smacked me,” Phillipe said. “I knew it was going to be hot, but it’s a different type of hot. It’s a little unreal.”
Phillipe also found unreal the experience that unfolded for him over the next two days directed by Shane Beamer, offensive line coach Greg Adkins and his player host Jovaughn Gwyn.
“Weekend was great. I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot about South Carolina,” Phillipe said. “What they’re about. The people that they have in their program, people that they try to recruit. And what the coaches’ goal is.”
Phillipe got the chance to watch Adkins put his troops through some drill work, and he took away from that that he could handle the rigors of playing offensive line in the SEC.
“I did get to watch and see the drills that they are running,” Phillipe said. “He showed me how many linemen spots will be available after this next year and I could come in and potentially earn a spot.”
Phillipe also got the chance to sit down with Beamer before departing Saturday morning.
“He basically just wound up what all the other coaches told me,” he said. “South Carolina is more about people and life connections more than anything, and I love that about them. Coach Beamer’s conversation with me just tied up everything that I was shown throughout the visit. South Carolina in general is beautiful. The facilities are amazing. The stadium is unreal. Everything about it is perfect.”
Despite the great experience, Phillipe wasn’t ready to jump into the boat with a commitment. He also has P5 offers from Virginia Tech and Florida State and wants to see what else might develop during this season.
“Recruiting is just getting started for me,” Phillipe said. “I’m focused on my season right now. Right now, my main worry is my season. I want to play well, have a great season, and hopefully pull in more offers and we can worry about all the recruiting stuff after. During the season, it’s really going to blow for me. I get to show everybody what I’m ready about. At the end of the season, I’ll make the decision that will best fit me, help me become the best person I can be on and off the field and put me better off in life.”
Phillipe said most of his games during the season are on Saturdays so it will be hard for him to schedule official visits except for his open week. He does not have any other visits scheduled at this point. Old Dominion, Grambling and FAMU are his other offers.