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Gophers Hockey: Clayton Phillips commits to Minnesota

Matt Christians/SBN College Hockey

Minnesota's Edina (MN-HS) pipeline continues to grow with Clayton Phillips verbally committing to the Gophers.

Phillips, a 1999-born defenseman from Edina, is new to the blue line, but has taken off from there. He put his outstanding skating and offensive instincts to use, scoring 18 points (5G-13A) in 30 games for the Hornets as a freshman. Edina finished 3rd in Class AA.

SB Nation College Hockey's Chris Dilks had this to say about him prior to the USHL Phase 1 Draft:

Clayton Phillips-Edina HS-Phillips is a converted forward that moved back to the blue line this year. He's still adjusting and improving on the defensive end, but his skating is elite level and his offensive upside is enormous.

Listed at 5'11", 160 lbs, Phillips won a gold medal this past August at the U-17 5 Nations tournament in Switzerland alongside fellow Minnesota commits Brannon McManus (Newport Beach, CA/Omaha - USHL) and Sammy Walker (Minneapolis/Edina HS).

Phillips is the second straight Edina sophomore to commit to the Golden Gophers following Walker last month. Other current and former Edina players with verbal commitments to Minnesota include Garrett Wait (Waterloo - USHL) and Ryan Zuhlsdorf (Sioux City - USHL).

Phillips is a few years (2018 at the earliest) away from playing with Minnesota. He should be returning to Edina and is currently playing in the Elite League. Fargo holds Phillips' USHL rights, having drafted him with the 9th overall pick in the 2015 USHL Phase 1 Draft.

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --