Junior Running Back Phillips Earns Offer

Summer camps are a great opportunity for underclassmen to get a jumpstart to their recruitment. They can work out for college coaches and, if they make a positive impression, put themselves in line for a scholarship offer. Momence's star running back Calvin Phillips did just that this week and came away with a Fighting Illini scholarship offer.

Calvin Phillips had an impressive sophomore year on the football field for Momence High School. The level of competition isn't real strong, so players like Phillips need to go to college camps to test themselves against other top players.

Phillips attended the Illinois one-day camp Wednesday, and he says he received some good news on the way home.

"They actually want to give me a full ride. They had to wait until I got off campus. They called my coach and told him they were offering me. It's my first offer, and I'm excited about it."

Phillips, who was measured at 6'-1", 205 pounds and ran a 4.53 forty yard dash on a slow turf, confirmed a serious interest in the Illini.

"I have a strong interest in Illinois. I've been looking at them for a long time. I've been playing for an orange and blue team for ages. So I like the colors and the team."

He also liked the camp, which was unique in his experience.

"Camp was real nice. I was with a couple friends I play football with, so it was fun. They put us through some nice drills. This was the first camp I went to where the coaches actually worked with us. At other camps, it was just running and not working on techniques."

Phillips was surrounded by Illini coaches afterwards, highly impressed with the running back with a muscular build. He was excited by their interest.

"The coaches talked to me afterward. Coach Ron Zook wanted to talk to me personally. He just told me I need to be a good person in school and on the field. He said I can get the job done from there."

Phillips is a three sport athlete. He has been playing summer basketball as well as working out for football, so his foot became swollen and sore during the camp.

"I'm a forward on my basketball team, but we don't have any big guys. I didn't really hurt my foot playing basketball. But when I overwork it, I've been doing a lot of stuff in the summer and working real hard, it starts to act up. So I have to put ice on it to reduce the swelling."

He started but didn't complete his track season.

"I went out for track and ran for a couple weeks, but I couldn't do it this year because I had a little mishap with my grades. My parents wouldn't let me stay out for track until I got my grades back up. A coach came to the school and told me what I needed to do to get into college."

Phillips plays both ways for his high school team. Besides running back, he played linebacker as a freshman and defensive end last year. He is looking forward to the next two seasons.

"Our football team is going to be good actually. I think in two years is when we will be the best. But my junior year should be real good. There are a lot of young players, but we have a little kid coming in who's supposedly a quarterback. And we're only losing two kids off our line. So our line is gonna be real good."

Phillips will be attending several more camps, including Minnesota in another week or two. But in the end, his attraction to Illinois and his relatively close proximity to the campus may be hard to resist.

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