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February 25, 2013

Phillips Ends Up In Orange And Black

As far as we know this is the latest and maybe the last call like this one for the Class of 2013.  The boys of the NW are all but done now with just a few still trying to land the right option.  Tatum Taylor of O’Dea High School announced he was heading to Arizona State for Track on a full ride and that left one high profile guy yet unsigned.

Skyler Phillips will join Cristian Morris from Sherwood as ISU grabs two of the best players in Oregon from the 2013 Class.

Skyler Phillips will join Cristian Morris from Sherwood as ISU grabs two of the best players in Oregon from the 2013 Class.

That would be Churchill High School star linemen Skyler Phillips.  And yesterday after a lot of careful consideration he is has declared himself signed and committed to Idaho State University.  This decision was made as his best option over a partial ride he had worked out to attend PSU.

It’s not clear if the Bengals needed him more then he needed them or vice-versa .  You see Phillips came to the Nike SPARQ event this past Summer with no expectations.  College football was of course a goal but with only 1 year of football experience the massive linemen had no idea how it all worked.

No matter.  His 99 scored him as one of the Premier big men in the Region.  The following day he was named MVP of the Nike Football Training Camp.  A couple weeks later he was offered by OSU to play football for them in a full ride.

By the time he left Nike’s “The Opening” his head was spinning.  In just a month or so he had risen up as perhaps the hottest line prospect in the Region over 330 lbs.  Skyler verbally committed to Oregon State who he was excited to play for after High School.

The season came and went and as it did it was clear that Phillp’s was a top guy.  His film show cased him as an amazing talent who was just starting to understand what his body was capable of.  Then came the phone call from OSU as signing day got closer.  OSU coaches called to let him know they wee not going to be able to scholarship him after all.  Through no fault of his own the Beavers just changed their minds.  Skyler was crushed.  In fact he had not talked to anyone else about playing for them and had not time to visit anyone or make “other plans”.

He was left High and Dry when the Beaver damn broke and the water drained out.  He was stuck.  Up a creek without a paddle so to speak.

But the water would eventually flow back in and un-stick him from his precarious situation that arose from putting all his options in one basket; and this is what made that happen.

Just as Phillips was going through all of this and speaking with our staff Idaho State had been pursuing our prospect watch lists for 2013 and called seeking a phone number or two which we were happy to share.  They needed a running back so we gave them the top 4 guys in the NW without major scholarships.  From that call they were able to contact and get the commitment of  Sherwood HS Star RB Cristian Morris.

We applauded them as ISU has been a non-factor in the Big Sky recruiting here in the Oregon/Washington football scene.  Teams like PSU, EWU, Montana, and Montana State have been raiding the area for a long time.  So we asked them why they were so late to the party?

Getting Morris we know was huge and time will prove us right on that one.

Encouraged they came back and asked for information on linemen.  Boom!  We sent them back to the NWPR prospects watch list.  No we do not “discuss recruits” with schools when they are openly recruiting them.  That can be deemed a violation.  But we can point them in the right direction and say “That’s your guy”.

We offered them Phillip’s number with a very high recommendation about his abilities and his heart.

The rest is history.

No Idaho State is not Oregon State.  Not even close.  But the Bengals are trying to improve and have something to offer kids in need.  And for Phillips they offered him a lifeline; a chance to compete and to play.  A chance to get his education paid for.  A chance to play college football.

After a visit two weekends ago to Pocatello, Idaho Phillips liked what he saw.  He visited PSU 2 times in the past week and liked it a lot too.  In the end the decision was made to head to Idaho State.

“I am really excited to get away from Eugene and start new in a sense.  I’m excited to get to know the O’line guys a lot more so we can handle our business in the trenches,” said a resolute kid.

He continued, ” I really like Idaho.  The people I have met have been great and I am looking forward to moving out there and playing some ball!”

His Mother Kari was a big part of this decision.  She was concerned about her son being pretty far away and of course keeping him at PSU would give them a chance to stay close and see each other more often.

“Trust me.  My Mom and I had plenty of long conversations and we both decided Idaho State was best for me,” he concluded.

So off he will go to play in the Black and Orange.  He will be a Bengal Tiger and not a Beaver.  But for him it was all just part of the wild ride he has been on this past year and he is in the end happy to have found a home.  There is no doubt in our mind that a kid of this size and talent will help ISU and he will contribute early!

Happy ending really for another NW kid who has what it takes to move on.

About the Author

Dirk is a lifelong resident of the Pacific NW; athlete and Merit scholar. He runs camps, clinics, and has been a sports writer and analyst for nearly a decade now; mostly with Rivals.com as the editor of OregonPreps and WashingtonPreps.com. Dirk is the founder of NWPR & BrainChampions.org; a charity for injured athletes suffering from Brain Trauma / Concussion. He is a father of three and married.


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