Not long ago, Caleb Phillips had one division one scholarship offer from the University of Nevada-Reno. Now, he has two. BYU Cougars assistant head coach Ed Lamb recently extended an offer to a native of a beautiful seaside town called Solana Beach.
“Yes sir, I did receive an offer from BYU,” said Phillips. “Going into it, I wasn’t expecting it. I had been talking to Coach Lamb for a little while. My coach’s son had played for him for him at Southern Utah, and my uncle had met him a couple of times. We had talked a little bit and knew he was coming to see me. He kind told me, ‘Take it how you want it, but I’m going to offer you an offer.’ I kind of asked him again if I had been offered, and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s an offer.’”
But how did BYU learn of this hidden gem tucked away among sandstone cliffs and warm Lagoons of nearby San Elijo? Well, Ed Lamb has connections to Santa Fe Christian High School were Caleb Phillips plays.
“My coach’s Son Brock Miller played at SUU and he’s a punter and he’s looking to play on a NFL team played for Coach Lamb,” said Phillips. “Then my strength and conditioning coach also played for him, and he said he was the best coach he’s ever played for.”
Coach Lamb headed up the Interstate 5 and to Santa Fe Christian located just off the freeway. He spoke with Phillips and the two got to know one another better. In the end Phillips understood exactly what his school’s strength and conditioning coach meant.
“Yeah, I was actually really impressed with him,” Phillips said. “A lot of coaches come in and try and sell the school and himself. I was really impressed by him. He kind of came in and told me how it was. He doesn’t take any crap from his players and looks to build good men of character and I liked that. He seems like the type of coach that I would like to play for.”
Phillips is tall and admits that he’ll have to add some weight in order to compete more successfully at the next level. What he feels sets him apart, and why BYU offered, is because along with his size and speed he plays with a lot of passion.
“I’m a solid 6-5, 200-pounds,” said Phillips. “I play tight end and middle linebacker for my team, but at the college level I’ll be playing more of an outside backer, or defensive end, [or] tight end on the offensive side.
“I can tell you that every coach that comes in tells me that I need to gain weight and I know that. I’m skinny for how tall I am. I think what sets me apart, and what makes me desirable for a football program, is I love football. I mean, no matter where you put me I’m up to playing everything and will go all out on every play. I feel like my football instincts and my love for the game sets me apart from some of the other guys.”
Although he plays multiple positions for his high school team, such as tight end, linebacker, and even some wide receiver, Phillips feels BYU is looking at him as simply an athlete. In time, if he chooses to come, BYU’s coaches will find a spot based upon need and ability.
“Coach Lamb kind of told me that they’re looking at me as kind of an athlete,” Phillips said. “He kind of mentioned that he recruits kinds based on height, speed, GPA, and overall character. Then Coach Lamb figures out where an athlete best fits when they come into camp. He said either linebacker or tight end.”
So if given his option, where would Phillips like to play at the next level?
“If I’m going to be completely honest, I love the defensive side of the ball,” Phillips said. “I can tell you I think I can do a lot on the offensive side of the ball too, but if I were to choose I would probably take an outside linebacker’s spot. We put in a tight end at our school and I fell in love with that too, because I used to play wide receiver. I’m fine with that too.”
He’s simply grateful for the opportunity Coach Lamb and the BYU staff has given him to play big time college football at BYU.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play football at the next level,” said Phillips. “Then to think of the opportunity to play football for a college like BYU is unbelievable.”
The offer from BYU marks his third with more coming on the horizon as word slowly gets out.
“I’m a junior in high school now so I’m in the class of 2017,” he said. “This is technically my third offer. I got an offer from Nevada Reno and an MNU school (Mid-American Nazarene University) in Kansas. A former coach out here is now coaching there and he offered me. Other colleges are looking to offer me, but they first want me to come down to their summer camps first. I’m expecting a couple offers when I go out to camps this summer.”
The other colleges that are showing interest in Phillips are Wyoming, Cal Poly, San Diego State, Harvard, and Yale. What makes BYU different is the fact that they play big time football, have some of the best facilities around, and is a private institution with a strict code of moral conduct.
“The fact that BYU has that honor code, I think that’s kind of special and kind of cool,” said Phillips. “I think it keeps guys focused on having good character and staying focused. I think at the college level there are a lot of distractions that can get you of course as to why you go to college. I think BYU is a place where the environment and the honor code keeps you on track towards your goals.”
With much already planned, being that the offer from BYU came at him like a shot in the dark, Phillips hopes he can squeeze a visit to BYU in to a summer already planned out. He hopes he can make it to a camp in Provo, if not simply take a quick tour of the campus.
“It kind of came as a surprise to me and I’m going to try and find some time to visit,” said Phillips. “I might try and pick a camp and if not then maybe do a tour of the campus and facilities I would be really up for that. If I can fit BYU in, that would be great. I have some things already scheduled for summer like camps and an east coast trip, but if I can make it out to BYU that would be great.