The Oklahoman's Super 30: Enid running back Will Phillips has something to prove
Enid coach Steven Hayes believed Will Phillips was poised for a big season.
Phillips had already rushed for 85 yards on six carries against Guthrie in the Plainsmen's season opener in August, then on Enid's 13th offensive play of the season, the junior running back went down.
Phillips broke into the open field on a long run and was horse-collared from behind, Hayes said. The Guthrie tackler fell on the back of Phillips' ankle and broke it, requiring surgery. Enid's star player was lost for the rest of the season.
“In my opinion, he was going to be a 2,000-yard rusher and probably an 800- to 900-yard receiver given where he was at physically and how well he was playing at the time,” Hayes said.
Enid finished the 2017 season with a 3-7 record. There is no doubt in Hayes' mind that the Plainsmen would have won a few more games with Phillips on the field.
“I think we would have won at least three more games,” Hayes said. “He is such a complete, dynamic player. He is an incredible receiver. He is great runner between the tackles. He's got good speed in the open field. He is a really good blocker. He is as complete a skills football player as there is in the whole state.”
Phillips debuts The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of top high school recruits in the state at No. 30. It's a list that Hayes thinks Phillips would be higher on if he were not hurt last year.
Fort Hays State, Emporia State and the University of Central Oklahoma have already offered scholarships to Phillips. Last week, Phillips received his first Division I offer from Eastern Michigan. Hayes expects there will be more.
“Losing his junior year hurt him in the recruiting process,” Hayes said. “He is going to be a steal for somebody.”
Most of the evaluations of Phillips have been from college coaches who have watched him in spring ball and in summer camps, Hayes said.
“Oklahoma State came and looked at him. They really like him but they have offered all the running backs in this class,” Hayes said. “The coach compared him to the kid from Millwood (Marcus Major Jr.) and the kid from Booker T. (Thomas Grayson) as far as being one of the top three backs in the state.
“Nevada and Wyoming are very interested as well. He did very well at the OU camp. He got a lot of attention there from the coaches as well.”
Phillips will be a four-year starter for Enid this season. As a freshman, he started in the defensive secondary. As a sophomore, he moved to running back and rushed for 1,112 yards on 199 carries, He also caught 15 passes for 149 yards. He scored nine touchdowns.
Phillips will play cornerback in certain situations this season, but mostly he will be the featured running back in Enid's spread attack. He also will line up at receiver at times and even take some direct snaps from center, Hayes said.
“He actually throws the ball pretty well,” Hayes said.
The only good thing about Phillips' injury is that it happened so early last season. He has made a complete recovery and joined Enid's basketball team in January, playing the remainder of the year. He was a state track meet qualifier in the long jump.
Phillips has added 12 pounds of muscle since August and is motivated to have a big season, Hayes said.
“He's got something to prove and he's really been working hard in that regard,” Hayes said. “I think we are going to have a really good football player on our team this year and he is going to be quite the dynamic offensive player.”
The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series
The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2019 class through July 22. The series began Wednesday with No. 30, Enid running back Will Phillips. See No. 29 on the list in Thursday’s editions of The Oklahoman.
The Oklahoman’s Super 30
Name: Will Phillips
Super 30 ranking: 30
Weight: 210 pounds
Recruited by: Eastern Michigan, University of Central Oklahoma, Fort Hays State, Emporia State