Clark Phillips III apparently was affected by the departure of defensive co-coordinator Jeff Hafley to Boston College.

Cornerback Clark Phillips III signed a letter of intent with Utah on Thursday, spurning Ohio State after he had been committed to the Buckeyes for six months.

The decommitment of Phillips came in the aftermath of assistant Jeff Hafley leaving for Boston College last week.

Hafley, who was hired as the Eagles' coach after one season as the defensive co-coordinator and secondary coach for the Buckeyes, served as the primary recruiter for Phillips, a four-star recruit from La Habra, California, who was ranked as the No. 4 cornerback in the country in 247Sports' composite rankings.

Phillips is the highest-rated player to sign with Utah in the modern recruiting era.

The Buckeyes once had five defensive backs who were committed for the class of 2020, but only three of them - cornerbacks Lejond Cavazos and Ryan Watts and safety Lathan Ransom - were among the 24 signees on Wednesday when the early signing period began.

In the immediate aftermath of Hafley's hiring by Boston College, coach Ryan Day said he still expected all five of the committed defensive backs to sign with Ohio State.

The Buckeyes' remaining defensive back commit is Cameron Martinez, who said he will sign his letter of intent in February.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman