Athletic punter likes Bama

As Bama fans bitterly learned last Saturday, a dominant punter can be a valuable weapon in college football. Cullman's Joseph McPhillips could be a good one.

Some pundits consider Joseph McPhillips (5-10, 165, 4.70) to be the best all-around punter in the state this year. He has a super foot that allowed him to average 42 yards per punt as a junior, which included all the sideline kicks requested by his coach to prevent a return.

An Alabama fan, McPhillips is off to a dynamite start his senior year, averaging 47 yards per punt in his first three games.

Current Tide placekicker Brian Bostick and left tackle Wesley Britt are from McPhillips' high school. Alabama is also recruiting McPhillips' teammates Justin Britt (defensive line) and Cody Green (offensive line).

"I love Alabama," McPhillips told in a recent interview. "I know I can be successful at Alabama given the chance."

According to his high school coach, McPhillips is instructed 50 percent of the time to kick away from the return man. And when he does, he often nails a punt inside the twenty yard line or deeper.

He owns a school record 69 yard punt that he recorded as a junior.

McPhillips attended the Carol White Kicking Camp where he placed second with an average of 46 yards per punt.

A versatile athlete, McPhillips has good hands, doubling as a receiver on offense. He excels at catching bad snaps and still getting off excellent punts. McPhillips is also a three-year starter at point guard on the basketball team; he is a member of the Class 5A State Champions in soccer; and he has competed for 13 years in competition swimming.

The Cullman native also works at placekicker. He missed just one extra point his junior season. McPhillips specializes in the cross-field sky kick on his kickoffs. He was chosen All County and All Area following his junior year.

McPhillips is already qualified (88 average in the classroom, 20 ACT), and he is getting looks from Alabama and several southern schools.

RECRUITING NOTE: With limited scholarships to give, Alabama is unlikely to sign a punter for this year's class.

Theoretically, should McPhillips elect to walk on his first semester and earns the punting job, he could be awarded a scholarship the following January and count against the Tide's 2005 numbers.

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