A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Harrison Phillips truly resides in the heart of Cornhusker country.
Phillips' high school, Millard West, is less than an hour away from the University of Nebraska's campus in Lincoln. And in a state where Husker football is king, Phillips' recent offer from Nebraska made headlines the state.
But while most pundits predicted that Phillips would join many of his friends at the University of Nebraska, the three-star defensive end made a commitment on Monday afternoon that's certain to open eyes: Phillips announced his verbal commitment to play his college football for the Stanford Cardinal.
Phillips camped with Stanford a few weeks back and received a Cardinal offer on June 22. He impressed Stanford's coaching staff by winning "King of the Boards" (the designation Phillips earned after a strong showing in the board drills), as well as a number of other drills. Phillips was particularly dominant in 9-on-7 play, accounting for (what this observer estimated) was between 50-60 percent of the tackles when he was on the field.
"(Stanford) just told me that you really came out here and proved what you needed to do," Phillips told Cardinal Sports Report after returning home from his visit to The Farm in late June. "You came out where with a high motor and you did exactly what we were looking for. You're the type of kid we're looking for in our program and they want to extend an offer."
He was thrilled to receive the Cardinal scholarship.
"I am very, very honored to have this opportunity," Phillips told Rivals.com when he was offered by Stanford. "It's barely been 24 hours since I got the news and it hasn't really sunk in, but they are going to be a school that I have a high amount of interest in."
Phillips also was attracted to Stanford's defensive scheme.
"Their 3-front really fits my body type well," Phillips said. "They were the No. 1 ranked defense in the nation and their defensive coordinator really knows how to work that scheme. Then, you can't beat the academics."
In addition to participating in Stanford's all-positions camp, Phillips learned more about the Cardinal program during the school's Junior Day.
"I got to see all of the facilities and stadium and everything," Phillips said. "I'd say (the highlights of the visit included) getting to see the Rose Bowl ring, getting to hold that in my hand, but I guess finally getting to put names to faces with some of these coaches make the relationships as a lot stronger and then have the opportunity to get coached by these great coaches."
Phillips had been in contact with Stanford's defensive line coach Randy Hart for several months prior to his commitment. The defensive end enjoyed working with the veteran coach at Stanford's camp.
"What I just respected the most was that he wasn't talking politics while we were there," Phillips told Cardinal Sports Report. "He was teaching. He was worried about coaching the time he had me he was coaching me up the best he could. Really he was just teaching me new things to do, new things. There were a lot of kids there as well, so it wasn't just personalized, but he definitely focused on more coaching than this is where you stand and stuff like that, which I really respected."
Phillips is Stanford's first defensive line commit in the 2014 class, but he won't be the last. The Card is also in good shape with four-star defensive linemen Nifae Lealao and Solomon Thomas, and as such, is well-positioned to ink one of the best defensive line classes in the nation.
Stay tuned to Cardinal Sports Report for continuing coverage of all things Stanford football recruiting, and more on Phillips' decision.