Nation’s best D-linemen have Ole Miss up high
HOOVER, Ala. – Two of the nation’s top defensive line prospects, and two of the top targets for Ole Miss at both end and tackle for the 2015 class, decided to show their versatility this past weekend at the National Select 7-on-7 Championships.
Kyle Phillips is a 6-foot-3, 259-pound athlete from Hillsboro High in Nashville, Tenn. He is rated as the nation’s 14th best end prospect this year by Rivals.com and a consensus four-star player.
Phillips played outside linebacker for his team in the tournament held last weekend in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover.
“It’s a really good experience, getting to bond with your teammates some more,” Phillips said. “You don’t have a chance like this every year. It was a really good opportunity for us to compete against the top 7-on-7 teams in the country. There is really good competition and it’s good to see how we compete against other teams. I’m really enjoying this, getting to spend time with them, and getting to compete with them.”
Phillips, who has offers from Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Florida State, said getting some work in as a linebacker helps going into the season, and beyond.
“I’m not really serious at linebacker. It’s not my top position, but it’s good exposure to do different things,” Phillips said. “It’s about getting exposure because most teams want me as a defensive end. There are some schools like Alabama that play a 3-4 that want me as an outside linebacker.”
Phillips showed he was able to cover smaller players and sit in a zone, clogging up the middle, when his team was on the field.
Phillips said that Ole Miss was very high on his recruiting list of schools heading into the season.
“I also like Alabama a lot, Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State, LSU and Georgia,” Phillips said. “Those are pretty much my main ones right now. Going into my senior year, things have started to pick up more heavily compared to my sophomore or junior years.”
Maurice Harris, the Rebels’ tight ends coach and offensive recruiting coordinator, is the man in charge of keeping in touch with Phillips. According to Phillips, the two have a very strong relationship.
“He’s done a very good job. We talk probably twice a week, so he’s doing a good job of keeping up with me and what I’m doing,” Phillips said. “He knew I was coming here and he wished me good luck. I’ve come to Ole Miss a few times. I went to a game last year when they played LSU. I’ve come for a visit during the fall and then I came for camp this past June.”
When it came time to describe the way Phillips plays each down, he said “high energy,” and his favorite thing to do was sack the quarterback.
“I’m probably better at that right now,” Phillips said. “I only played in four games last year because I had surgery, but before that I had six or seven sacks. I had 15 as a sophomore, and this year I’m going for 20 – at least 20 – I just know I can do it.”
Fletcher Adams (6-3, 260) is rated as one of the top 250 players in the nation, regardless of position, just like Phillips. The Brandon (Miss.) prospect played tight end during the 7-on-7 season and he helped the Bulldogs garner a fourth-place finish in the Hoover tournament.
Brandon defeated Oxford 30-23 in the second game Saturday to improve to 9-0. Brandon ended up with a 12-2 overall mark and had a lot of success during the entire summer, winning two team titles.
“We want to come out here and keep winning and get this championship,” Adams said after the Bulldogs defeated the Chargers. “It’s good to come out here and compete. I didn’t come with the team last year. We want to get better each and every week and this a great 7-on-7 tournament out here, with a lot of good teams.”
Ole Miss has been at the top of Adams’ list and he re-affirmed that the Rebels, and four others, were at the top Saturday.
“All my top five are really about the same,” Adams said. “I was thinking about making a decision around August. I am supposed to be up in Oxford on Aug. 8 one last time before the season and school kicks off. I’m going to come up there and chill a little bit. I’m pretty close with Breeland Speaks and Rod Taylor. I got real tight with the Nkemdiche brothers, too. I feel I got a pretty good relationship with them.”