A unique combination of size, speed, and athleticism helped Jaelan Phillips become the number one rated football recruit in the country in just his junior year at Redlands East Valley High School in California. Phillips followed a family legacy to UCLA and was on the path to fulfilling his gridiron dreams before a barrage of injuries, including being hit by a car, forced him into retirement. After walking away from the game completely, Phillips seized the opportunity to enroll at the University of Miami, rebuilt himself mentally and physically, and became a stalwart of the Hurricanes’ defense earning second-team All-American honors. The Miami Dolphins helped Phillips find football redemption when they selected him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he responded by setting a new franchise record for quarterback sacks as a rookie with 8.5.
In The Tank, Jaelan discusses his early interactions with new Miami Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel (5:42), relives his journey from being the nation’s top high school prospect to becoming a promising young UCLA player battling unprecedented adversity (9:56), and candidly shares his feelings of failure after being faced with medical retirement just two years into his college career (17:40). Jaelan also stresses the importance of managing the mental aspect of football (19:28), reveals why he worked with a confidence coach this past year (21:06), reflects upon his strong finish to the 2021 season (23:33), and explains what drives him to give back to the South Florida community (28:52).
Contributors to this episode include Sean Todd aka DJ Prēc, Alex Bitchatchi, and Miami Dolphins Productions. Theme song created and performed by The Honorable SoLo D.