Clark Phillips III is the best returning cornerback in the Pac-12 and with continued improvement could become one of the clear-cut best corners in college football during the 2022 season.

Such a rise would also land him squarely on the radar of just about every NFL franchise in need of a high-level cornerback. And, as such, the folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF) think Phillips is one of the 10 best corner prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft. Phillips was listed eighth, with PFF’s Michael Renner having this to say on his game:

It seems like there’s a cornerback every year who lacks size but makes up for it with big-time skill. Last year, it was Houston’s Marcus Jones and the year before, it was Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Phillips has a good chance of becoming that player in 2023.

He’s uber-competitive and willing to stick his nose in the fight wherever it may be, as his 59 solo tackles last season were the 12th-most among all cornerbacks and seventh-most when isolating solely outside cornerbacks. While he may end up as a slot cornerback in the NFL, he has the skill and temperament to thrive there.

Over his final six games of the 2021 season, Phillips was the highest-graded outside corner in the country per PFF, allowing 0.3 yards per coverage snap over that stretch.

He finished his second year in Salt Lake City with 13 pass breakups (most in the league), two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. The Lakewood, California, native is a quick corner who thinks and sees the game at a really high level.

That led to a spot on the All-Pac-12 Second Team last season. In a conference with standout corners, Phillips looks to be the cream of the crop entering into the new season. He landed on the Athlon Sports’ preseason all-conference first team and is a key reason why some think Utah’s defense can be just as feisty in 2022 as it was in 2021.