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June 1, 2013

Commit in the books

Gregory Phillips had to wait it out.

The wide receiver from Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Ga., piled up 25-plus smaller-school offers, whether they were low-FBS or FCS, before his first BCS-level offers came from Purdue and Iowa State Thursday night.

"I just stayed patient and kept working hard," Phillips said.

Once that Purdue offer came through in a phone call from wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman, the 6-foot, 180-pounder saw no reason to wait.

"I thought about it and talked to my mom about it," Phillips said, "and she gave me the OK to commit so I went ahead and did it."

And that commitment was finalized Friday, giving Purdue its second known 2014 verbal commitment and second recruit in as many years from Arabia Mountain, which will send linebacker/defensive end Danny Ezechukwu to West Lafayette this summer.

"He talks about them a lot," Phillips said, "and me just hearing about what he thinks of them, it just makes me more interested. Having a teammate there when I get there, it might help make me more comfortable, as well."

Phillips said the offer Thursday night was something of a surprise, but came from a school that long ranked among his favorites, he said.

"They have a good academic program and good team, as well," he said. "I'm looking forward to my official visit so I can get to know more about the coaching staff and find out more about who I'll be putting my future in the hands of the next four or five years."

Wide receiver is a position of emphasis for the 2014 class. Phillips' commitment joins that of Texan Trae Hart as Purdue's first two entries for 2014.

As a junior, Phillips caught 37 passes for 484 yards and seven touchdowns.

"They said they liked my camp highlights on film, my route-running and ability to get open, especially when I'm isolated one-on-one with a DB," Phillips said. "I think my route-running (is a strength) and my burst of speed when I'm going into my cuts. On my slants, digs and posts, I have that burst after I stick my route and I have a good eye for finding the ball and going to get it."

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