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Jenks (Okla.) linebacker Phillip Dillard was on a mission this past weekend. Dillard made the journey from the midwest to the University of Florida to partake in UF’s Rising Senior Camp. The four-star linebacker made the long trip to Florida in hopes of grabbing the attention of the UF coaching staff.
“I just wanted to show them what I could do and get an offer from them,” Dillard said. “The camp was a lot of hard work, but it was good. Seeing all the other athletes from across the country was pretty cool.
“I think I did well. (UF linebackers coach Bill Miller) liked how me and No.55 (Gerald Williams) could man-up people, so he was really impressed with that because that is what they see in linebackers.”
At the camp, Dillard (6-2, 245 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds, benched 22 reps of 185 pounds and boasted a vertical jump of 32 inches. But despite testing well and playing hard in one-on-one drills, Dillard left UF without an offer.
However, he did phone Miller on Monday and a UF offer could soon be on its way.
“I called and he (Miller) said the only person they offered in Oklahoma was (Tulsa Washington running back) Felix (Jones),” Dillard said, “but he was impressed and (UF head) coach (Ron) Zook was impressed with what they saw, and that I would probably be getting an offer soon, probably right before the season.”
Miller must of thought highly of Dillard at the camp because he gave personal linebacker lessons to Dillard and Bayonne (N.J.) linebacker Jerome Hayes.
“He taught me a better way to do my stance and a quicker way to switch directions,” Dillard said.
Zook also had his chance to speak with Dillard before he left the camp.
“He said that he could tell I had speed, I just have to do a better start in the 40 but everything else, he was real impressed with,” Dillard said.
During the down time at camp, Dillard was able to meet with several UF players, but of course a fellow linebacker stood out above the rest.
“(Channing) Crowder was real cool,” Dillard said. “He was just talking about how fun college is and stuff. He is saying it is a lot of hard work, but it pays off.”
Dillard, the No. 6 ranked inside linebacker and No. 3 ranked player in Oklahoma, said his offer count is at 13 and the teams that have offered have been Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Kent State, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, TCU, Texas A&M, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
“Nebraska, Oklahoma and Florida are my favorites (in that order),” Dillard said. “Basically all three teams have good defensive lineman and when you have good defensive lineman you are basically set. They are some of the top programs in the nation, they have good facilities and good coaching staffs.
“I am looking for how much attention a school is going to give me. Then comes the coaching staff, academics, playing time and facilities.”
Dillard is targeting a mid-season commitment. He has a 2.8 GPA and scored a 17 on the ACT.
As a junior, Dillard had 101 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. The Daily Oklahoman named Dillard Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
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