Phillips was a high school QB that spent his redshirt year as a fullback for the Horned Frogs. He moved to linebacker and never looked back. He earned Freshman All America honors after fnishing his rookie year with 71 tackles, 8.5 for loss, and a sack. As a sophomore, his numbers were very similar, this time finishing with 73 tackles, six for loss, a sack, and an interception while earning 1st team MWC honors. The awards continued for Phillips last year, as he posted career highs of 87 tackles, 10.5 for loss, two sacks, and an interception on his way to all conference honors again. As a senior, Phillips had 84 tackles, 13 for loss, and 3.5 sacks.
Phillips has the mentality of a true linebacker. He is mean, physical, and is always looking to hit someone. He is an instinctive linebacker that has a natural feel for the game and is always around the action, whether in coverage or in the running game. Phillips is excellent between the tackles at stopping the run. He is strong and stout at the point of attack and can shed a block to make the tackle. He also the speed to run plays down and make plays sideline to sideline.
Size is an issue with Phillips. He lacks the ideal height and bulk to play inside. He has shown that he is strong and can take on blockers, but he may be overpowered by NFL lineman when asked to take them on every snap. While he has the speed to close on the action, Phillips is stiff on the field. He does not change direction well which will limit him in coverage.
Phillips may not get the hype of some other linebackers but he made a name for himself at the combine. He checked in at 6'1 239, which was a bit bigger than expected. He had a great time of 4.69 in the 40, and even had impressive shuttle and broad jump numbers. The upside of that performance is that he could have moved himself up into possibly the top 75 selections in April. There was a big negative from the combine however, and that was that Phillips tore his left meniscus and will be out approximately 12 weeks. That will prevent him from taking part in minicamps after the draft, but he should be fine come training camp. Since it likely will not hinder his ability to play during the season it will not hurt too much, so his overall performance was definitely a positive at the combine.