published Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Reese Phillips puts recruiting in the past

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    Signal Mountain's Reese Phillips is one of the Times Free Press Dynamite Dozen football players.
    Photo by Jake Daniels.
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Dynamite Dozen

No. 3 Reese Phillips

Signal Mountain -- quarterback

• Schools recruiting: Has committed to Kentucky.

Why do you wear No. 11?

It's a family thing, just what I was raised into. My grandfather wore it as did my dad, my brother, my uncle and my cousin.

There are schools still interested in Reese Phillips, but the Signal Mountain quarterback has tuned out.

Ranked No. 3 on the Times Free Press Dynamite Dozen, Phillips committed on June 6 while on an unofficial visit to Kentucky's Wildcats.

His summer was most enjoyable.

"Summer was good. I haven't had a lot to do since I committed," he said. "Now spring was hectic, but I actually had a normal teenager's summer -- working out but also spending time with my friends and doing some swimming. I relaxed, which was nice."

Recruiters were in and out of Signal Mountain during the spring, often tripping over each other as Phillips threw and at least waving to each other as they passed going up and down the mountain.

A pair of mid-major school recruiters tendered scholarship offers before they left the campus and one knew it was a lost cause.

"He's the best I've seen and I've been all the way to Texas, but we'll never get a chance to sign him," one of them said.

He was most prophetic. Less than a week later Kentucky quarterback coach Randy Sanders stopped by. He also wanted to offer on the spot but had to wait because Wildcats coach Joker Phillips was out of the country.

"My mom and I went up there to look over the campus -- the dorms, the facilities and the academic support for athletes," Phillips said. "When I sat down with Coach Phillips we visited for a while and then he said, 'I really like you, and that's why I want to offer you a scholarship.' He said they were going to close the book on [recruiting] quarterbacks and that I was the guy they wanted. I told him this is where I want to be."

Phillips threw for 1,895 yards and 21 TDs with just four interceptions while completing 71 percent of his passes. He is the first Signal Mountain football player to commit to a Southeastern Conference school and will be the first Chattanooga area quarterback to join a SEC program since McCallie's B.J. Coleman went to Tennessee 2007.

"There are Division I schools that would still like to have him, but he made a commitment to Kentucky and he'll stand by it," Eagles coach Bill Price said. "I am as proud as a father of what he has accomplished to date. Kentucky is getting a young man that's going to excel on the football field, in the classroom and also in the school."

Price believes that a combination of things would make Phillips a dream recruit.

"Beyond his personal attributes -- character and leadership skills -- he has the size (6-foot-3, 225) and the arm strength. The kid has great leadership skills. He has confidence. He is a much better quarterback when compared to last year and he's only been in the system a little more than a year -- 10 games last season -- as a quarterback."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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