Signal Mountain's Reese Phillips leaving Kentucky

Signal Mountain's Reese Phillips leaving Kentucky

December 26th, 2015 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Kentucky quarterback Reese Phillips looks for a receiver during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Louisiana Monroe at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Kentucky won the game 48-14. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Photo by David Stephenson

Kentucky starting quarterback hopefuls, from left, Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips, Drew Barker and Max Smith wait to have their photo taken during the team's NCAA college football media day, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Kentucky starting quarterback hopefuls, from left, Patrick Towles,...

Photo by James Crisp

After three years as a quarterback in the Southeastern Conference, former Signal Mountain standout Reese Phillips is seeking a new locale.

Phillips announced via Twitter on Thursday night that he was leaving Kentucky.

"The last three years have meant everything to me," Phillips said. "I've decided to transfer to keep playing."

The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder signed with the Wildcats in 2013 and redshirted that season. He played in three games last year as a redshirt freshman, including the 50-16 loss at Tennessee, and was the chief backup to Patrick Towles.

Phillips entered 2015 in a competition with Towles and Drew Barker under first-year coordinator Shannon Dawson, but he ruptured his Achilles' tendon in early March as the Wildcats were set to begin spring practice. Towles and Barker entered this season 1-2 on the depth chart, with Phillips serving as the holder on special teams but never taking a snap at quarterback.

"He's recovered from his injury and is feeling good and practicing well," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said in late October as his team prepared for Tennessee.

Towles announced last month that he was transferring as a graduate student and has since decided on Boston College for his final year of eligibility. He struggled down the stretch this season and was replaced by Barker, who guided the Wildcats to a win over Charlotte and a 24-7 halftime lead over Louisville before completing 1 of 15 second-half passes as the Cardinals roared back for a 38-24 win.

The loss to Louisville saddled Kentucky with a second consecutive 5-7 record, which was followed by Stoops firing Dawson.

Barker currently is Kentucky's only scholarship quarterback, though the Wildcats have a commitment from Gunnar Hoak, a 6-4, 190-pounder from Dublin, Ohio. Hoak is a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com and 247Sports.com, and he is scheduled to enroll in January.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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