Clark Phillips III made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks throughout his three seasons at the University of Utah.

Now, he’ll get the chance to do that with the Atlanta Falcons, who selected Phillips in the fourth round (No. 113 overall pick) of the 2023 NFL draft on Saturday.

He was rated as one of the best players available heading into the draft’s final day.

The 5-foot-9, 184-pound Phillips entered Utah as the program’s highest rated recruit in school history.

He lived up to that hype over the next three seasons, capped by a 2022 season where Phillips was a unanimous All-American and The Associated Press Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Phillips started all 31 games he played at Utah and finished his Utes career with 112 tackles, 30 pass deflections, nine interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, five tackles for loss and one sack.

He returned a school-record-tying four of his interceptions for touchdowns.

During the 2022 season, Phillips picked off six passes and had 12 pass breakups, a season that helped improve his draft stock.

He is the 17th Utah defensive back drafted since the turn of the century.

There are currently five other former Utah secondary players in the NFL, among them fellow cornerback Jaylon Johnson (Chicago) and safeties Marcus Williams (Baltimore), Eric Rowe (Carolina), Julian Blackmon (Indianapolis) and Terrell Burgess (New York Giants). Safety Marquise Blair is currently a free agent.

What experts said about Clark Phillips III

“Phillips might not be a big, long cornerback, but he’s a playmaker. He has the play traits to continue down that same path as a pro. He’s a voracious student of the game and has developed a feel for reading the quarterback’s drops and eyes,” —’s Lance Zierlein

“Phillips doesn’t have elite size or speed and needs to limit the big plays allowed, but his read-react athleticism, competitive instincts and ball skills will translate well to NFL coverage. He has the skill set of a playmaking nickel capable of seeing outside reps as well. — The Athletic’s Dane Brugler.

“Clark Phillips III is a small, twitchy, very cerebral and sticky CB prospect. He’s always around the football, and his suddenness is bordering on elite. He plays aggressive, all the time,” — CBS Sports scouting report.

What experts said about the selection

“Smart pick by the Falcons on Day 3. Atlanta needed to add a cornerback at some point during the draft and by adding an All-American in the fourth round, that’ll be worth taking a chance. Phillips will likely have the chance to come along slowly as Atlanta has both Mike Hughes and Dee Alford as options in the slot and at 5-foot-9, that could be his future.” — ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.

“Terrific value for a player we thought should go 30-40 picks earlier. Phillips is an elite competitor with subpar size who stood tall amid big expectations entering last season. He might be a slot corner, but Phillips could be a standout in that role.” — Eric Edholm,

Utah defensive backs previously taken in the NFL draft, past 25 years

Year — Player, Pos., Round, Pick No., Team

2020 — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Round 2, No. 50, Chicago Bears.

2020 — Julian Blackmon, S, Round 3, No. 85, Indianapolis Colts.

2020 — Terrell Burgess, S, Round 3, No. 104, Los Angeles Rams.

2019 — Marquise Blair, S, Round 2, No. 47, Seattle Seahawks.

2017 — Marcus Williams, S, Round 2, No. 42, New Orleans Saints.

2017 — Brian Allen, CB, Round 5, No. 173, Pittsburgh Steelers.

2015 — Eric Rowe, CB/S, Round 2, No. 47, Philadelphia Eagles.

2014 — Keith McGill, S, Round 4, No. 116, Oakland Raiders.

2011 — Brandon Burton, CB, Round 5, No. 139, Minnesota Vikings.

2010 — Robert Johnson, S, Round 5, No. 166, Tennessee Titans.

2010 — R.J. Stanford, CB, Round 7, No. 223, Carolina Panthers.

2009 — Sean Smith, CB, Round 2, No. 61, Miami Dolphins.

2009 — Brice McCain, CB, Round 6, No. 188, Houston Texans.

2007 — Eric Weddle, S, Round 2, No. 37, San Diego Chargers.

2003 — Antwoine Sanders, S, Round 7, No. 258, Baltimore Ravens.

2001 — Andre Dyson, CB, Round 2, No. 60, Tennessee Titans.