What do you see his full potential being at the next level?
“I think Phillips’ specialty in the NFL will be his return game. He’s such a lethal weapon on special teams and should make an immediate impact as a speedy kick returner and punt returner, possibly replacing or sharing reps with Alex Erickson. Phillips recorded six special teams touchdowns at Western Michigan, including highlight kick returns against USC and Michigan State last September. Simply put, he has Devin Hester potential. As a cornerback, Phillips can mold into a starter over the next several years and enjoy a decent career on defense too. He’s a ballhawk who’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, but he must work on open-field tackling and strength in order to possess a complete skill set required to achieve this goal.”
What about Phillips impressed you the most?
“As stated before, Phillips’ return ability is on another level. His 12 non-offensive touchdowns are a college football record and his five pick-sixes at Western Michigan are tied for the most in a career in FBS history. Phillips tortures opponents with elite speed and agility. He’s truly a one-of-a-kind player to watch when the ball’s in his hands. Against the 11-3 Pac-12 champion USC Trojans and a 10-3 Michigan State team, you could argue he was the most talented athlete in both of those contests. His combined stats against those powerhouse programs: 349 kick return yards on 8 returns, 2 kick return touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 3 pass deflections, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery touchdown.”
Was he a leader in the locker room?
“At Western Michigan, Phillips definitely served as a locker room leader. His charismatic, vibrant personality — shared by many athletes that played under fiery coach P.J. Fleck — works to his advantage. Phillips is very positive on social media and on the field too. One of my favorite moments that demonstrated his personality is when he directed the band following the team’s comeback win in the 2017 opener over Idaho. Cincinnati’s had some characters on defense in the last couple years, but there shouldn’t be any additional locker room concerns when Phillips enters town.”