Published Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 | 9:20 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 | 10 p.m.
The UNLV football program appears to have cleared a major recruiting hurdle.
Late Tuesday night, two highly regarded three-star prospects from perennial local power Bishop Gorman High switched their verbal commitments from New Mexico to UNLV.
Scoggins Jr. will be following in his father’s footsteps with the scarlet and gray — Ron Scoggins Sr. played during the mid-1980s.
Both stressed the importance of staying near their support system in Southern Nevada, giving UNLV a major boost of local talent. The Rebel program has long been criticized for not keeping local talent home.
Wednesday, that changes.
“I knew the right decision was for me to stay home where my church is and to stay with my family,” Scoggins Jr. said. “Nothing against New Mexico. It was just too far for my liking.”
Philippi, whose father Mark Philippi is UNLV's former strength coach, has four younger siblings and has long said the top priority in his decision was family. Last Friday, Philippi committed to New Mexico citing the opportunity to leave Las Vegas for college. However, the following day, he said the process wasn’t over and planned on re-evaluating the decision.
"When it came down to it, getting out of Las Vegas is what everyone wants, but for me it that was too big of a sacrifice,” Philippi said. "After I committed with New Mexico, it seemed like it should have been a done deal and I shouldn't have been having second thoughts. But I was.
"I thought I should go check out UNLV again," he continued. "I went back and forth a million times looking at the positive and negatives of each. The biggest positive is my family is going to get to see me play."
If the pledges stay true it would mark a significant victory for UNLV in coach Bobby Hauck’s third recruiting class. Both played a key role the past three seasons in leading Gorman to a 43-3 record, three state championships and national ranking. More importantly, they could pave the way for other locals (and players from Gorman) to consider staying home — a must for the Rebels' program to progress.
"They (the UNLV coaches) really did a good job recruiting me and expressing to me how I was a priority for them," Philippi said.