Fans have to understand a couple of things about Drew Phillips, who hails from Boaz, Alabama. He’s fast, very fast and he’s very competitive about being fast. Phillips has been clocked running the forty as fast as 4.39 seconds and he doesn’t have a problem letting people know about that fact.
While some prospects would shy away from such gaudy forty numbers, Drew Phillips is not that type of prospect. While on his official trip to BYU, the discussion regarding just how fast he is started early and continued throughout the weekend.
“I love competing with guys and cracking with them about things, that’s how I am," related Phillips. “From the second I arrived on my trip I felt so comfortable and close to the other guys that we just started cracking on each other, which I love.”
First and foremost amongst the doubters of his 4.39 forty time was offensive line commit Jordan Black. During the first night Black called Phillips out about his forty time.
“He’d joke saying that it was great for him that I was so fast since he’d only have to hold blocks for me for a half a second or so," said Phillips about his and Black’s banter during the first night. “I laughed and told him that he was exactly right, that I’d help him big-time if he wasn’t able to hold blocks for that long.”
The back and forth continued to the point where Black actually challenged Phillips to a race in the Marriott Hotel parking lot.
“I don’t know how serious he was, but I’ll race anybody, I don’t care who it is," said Phillips. “We went and I obviously smoked him, but he kept on wanting to race me. It got to the point where he’d fake like he was going to start and then just pull up or try to tackle me before I got started. It was a good time.”
Black wasn’t Phillips’ only challenger, as intern trainer Robert Grant challenged him as well.
“That was awesome. I love that guy, he’s great with his Scottish accent and all," said Phillips about Grant. “I obviously beat him bad and he started talking about how he’s going to lose all his weight and beat me when I showed up this fall.”
While the competitive banter may seem trivial and unimportant to some, it’s exactly that sort camaraderie that Phillips loves about this year’s recruiting class.
“I love that from the second I got there guys just started cracking on each other and stuff; that shows just how close we already are as a group," he observed. “It wasn’t all a bunch of guys that were too scared to offend each other while not feeling comfortable enough to tease each other about certain things. I really felt comfortable around everyone and we treated each other like we’d been best friends for years, and I really love that about this class.”
As for the doubters of his 4.39 speed, Phillips is willing to take them on any time they wish.
“If someone doesn’t believe that I’m that fast, then I have no problem showing them that I am," he said. “I’ll race anyone. While it’s not much to beat an older guy who is a coach or an offensive lineman, I’d love to race some of the faster guys like Ross Apo or Jordan Johnson. That would be a good race I think with those two.”
Phillips got along great with all the fellow recruits, but also got along with some of the players already on the team, including his official host J.D. Falsev.
“I honestly couldn’t imagine having a better host than J.D.," he expressed. “We got along instantly and he showed me everything and we talked for hours. We’re a lot a like athletically too and might be playing the same position at slot, so yeah, it was perfect that he was my official host.”
Some of the most fun Phillips had on his trip came with a visit to the arcade, where his group found games that they could hit the jackpot every time and accumulate more than their fair share of prize tickets.
“It was like we were a bunch of 12-year-olds or something jumping around getting as much tickets as we could, but I don’t care, it was just really fun," he related. “Everything we did was a great time and I think it’s just because of the guys I was with. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing if you get along as well as we already do, I think.”
It wasn’t just Phillips that got along with everyone there, as his mother - who accompanied him on the trip - found a lot of fast friends as well among the group of parents there.
“That might have been the best thing for me was seeing my mom feel the same things about BYU that I did when I first visited the school back in June at Junior Day," he said. “All the parents hung out, went to movies together, and she seemed to really love being there with all the other moms, which was great. She really hit it off with Kori Gaines’ mom, Jacob Hannemann’s mom and Alani Fua’s mom it seemed, which was great. She was fully on board with me going to BYU before, but I think she feels that much more comfortable now that she’s been there and had the time to talk with the other moms and stuff. That might have been the best thing for me personally on the trip.”
Phillips also was able to get a lot of interface with the coaching staff in meetings and one-on-one conversations. One of his meetings with wide receiver coach Patrick Higgins saw them discuss what type of role he’d have on the team.
“We talked, and we’ve always talked about my ability to catch the ball in the slot and create mismatches with linebackers," he said. “I just want the ball, and any position they think they can get me the ball best I’m fine with. That’s one of the things I love about BYU, is that I don’t have to just stay at running back, they can move me around and create mismatches with how much they throw. I love that.”
Another area where Phillips may be able to help the team sooner rather than later is in returning kicks.
“Both Coach Higgins and Coach Mendenhall talked to me some about helping out returning kicks," he related. “Higgins especially talked about how they’d love to have me back there with my speed and my ability to take it all the way every time I touch it. I’d love to return kicks for sure, it’s something I was very good at in high school.”
Overall Phillips had one of the best weekends of his life and can’t wait to get to BYU this coming fall.
“BYU has everything you could want in a school," he expressed. “They have a great learning environment for personal growth and they play great football. I felt even that much more comfortable being there after my trip and so did my mom, which was great. I just can’t wait to get there and to compete for a spot this coming year.”