KANSAS CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Former Utah defensive back Clark Phillips III was hoping to be drafted on Day 2, but finally heard his name called in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, going to the Atlanta Falcons with the 113th overall pick.
Phillips, who was the highest rated recruit in Utah history, played three seasons for the Utes, totaling nine career interceptions.
Phillips is the 15th defensive back taken in the draft in the Kyle Whittingham era and is also the second Ute to be taken by Atlanta in draft history.
Last year, Phillips was third in the nation with six interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Phillips had four pick-6’s in his college career.
Phillips started all 31 games he played at Utah. His breakout game of the year came against Oregon State after Phillips recorded three interceptions (1 TD) and three tackles, earning him national player of the week from the Chuck Bednarik Award, Jim Thorpe Award, PFF and Walter Camp. It was the first three-interception game by a Ute since 2009 and was the second-most in a game in the FBS in 2022.
In 2022, Phillips became Utah’s fourth unanimous All-American, earning spots on AP, Sporting News, Walter Camp, FWAA, CBS Sports/247 Sports and The Athletic’s first-team lists. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, also being named the AP Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
At 5-foot-9, 184 pounds, Phillips may have fallen in the draft because of his size and 4.51 40-yard dash time. But his ballhawking skills and precision covering techniques made him an NFL player.
Phillips was a three-year starter at Utah, recording 110 total tackles, 21 passes defended and one sack.