It’s an odd combination. But that is just what comprises the life of Miami linebacker Jaelan Phillips (#15). He has always loved both. And while his name is not on the lips of many when they think or speak about the Dolphins, it soon may be.

His is a Story of Highs and Lows

Phillips was a high school standout and went on to play for UCLA. After two seasons and multiple injuries (ankles, concussions, and a broken wrist), he gave up the game.

At that point Phillips enrolled in Los Angeles City College, where he studied music production. This wasn’t an unusual course of studies, given that his parents have been lifelong musicians, and he himself plays the piano and guitar.

Through it all, he never quite got over his love for football and his desire to play again. It was then that he transferred to the University of Miami, enrolling in their school of music and sitting out a year because of NCAA transfer rules.

2020 was a blockbuster year for Phillips – 45 tackles in all, 5 quarterback hurries, and 3 pass breakups. The Dolphins grabbed him in the first round.

He has now finished 2 seasons with the Dolphins and has just finished the 2023 preseason. And the preseason was not too shabby at all – 37 solos, 24 assists, and 7 sacks.

Football and Music – an Unlikely Connection

At first glance, there is little-to-no connection. It’s a bit like those, for example, who frequent an asexual dating app – there is little-to-no interest in other relationships or interests. And certainly, no connection to be made. Professional football players may be the same way. They live, eat, and breathe football. And they often reject connections that don’t relate to their professional careers (with the exception of family and often some charitable initiatives).

But football does involve unlikely connections. It is as much a mental game as it is one of physical strength, agility, and speed. Once you have the basic physical skill, there is the mental aspect – focus, diagnosis, formulating plays, motivation, and, of course the practice.

Phillips engages in music production during the off-season. And interestingly, many of the same mental/brain activities are involved – the diagnosis of harmonies, the formulation of melodies and modulations, and, of course, practice to cement the techniques.

And so, the connection between football and music is not all that unlikely.

But enough of this. It’s time to return to what Dolphins players, coaches, and fans can look forward to as the 2023 unfolds.

What Can We Expect from Phillips This Upcoming Season

Phillips himself is ready and looking toward a breakout season. And his coaches share that view. At age 24, he is in the prime of his physical ability and skill.

During the 2022 season, Phillips started 15 of the 17 games. And his performance certainly contributed.

In his own words, Phillips is optimistic. He states that he is focused on continued and regular improvement, “in inches” he says. His goal is to continue to make all parts of his body to work in unison to get the job done for the defensive line.

Phillips’s coaches share his view and his goals. They firmly believe that he has all that it takes for a breakout season too – one that will get the Dolphins to the playoffs and perhaps the Super Bowl. Phillips openly states that this is his goal too.

Clearly, Jaelan Phillips is a player to watch this season. He has all that it takes – physical strength and speed, motivation, enthusiasm for his contribution to the team, and, most important, a singular focus.

It’s quite possible that Jaelan Phillips will become a “household name” after this season.