Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Phillips improves at Arkansas camp
FAYETTEVILLE The nation’s leading Nike SPARQ leader, North Little Rock safety Tyler Phillips tried to impress the Arkansas coaches at Thursday’s Elite Camp.
‘I thought I did well today,” Phillips said. “Definitely did pretty good and usually 1-on-1’s are hard for me because I’m moving out from linebacker, but today I felt like I held my own. I only got caught on once or twice So that was a real good day for me.”
Phillips, 6-2, 203 pounds, ran an electronically time of 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 4.00 in the pro shuttle, recorded a 40.7-inch vertical leap and tossed the power ball 42 feet to score a 141.36 SPARQ rating at the Dallas Nike Combine in May.
“I learned a lot of stuff I need to improve on,” said Phillips of the Arkansas camp. “Definitely my footwork. I need to work on that so I can put myself in position to use my athleticism to make a big play.”
As an outside linebacker, he recorded 38 unassisted tackles, 48 assisted tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles and 2 recovered fumbles last year. He moved to safety in the spring.
Defensive backs coach Clay Jennings spoke to him after the camp.
“He told me he thought they’ll probably look at me more at linebacker,” said Phillips, who has an offer from Quachita Baptist. said. “He thinks that’s where I’m more comfortable, which I understand. I loved playing linebacker. There’s nothing wrong with that in my mind.”
Phillips still stand a good chance to be elected to The Opening, the July event that features the top prospects in the nation at Nike Headquarters in Oregon.
He’s confident he’ll adjust to playing safety after a few games in the fall.
“Right now, I still have a lot of linebacker instincts,” Phillips said. “By this fall, hopefully everything will fall in place and I’ll be thinking and acting like a safety. I think that’s the thing right now, I’m thinking so much and just reacting. I just have to learn and react and use my ability.”