Coming out of Hoxie, Arkansas, Phillips was named the ‘Best Quarterback under the Sun' by the Jonesboro, Arkansas Sun newspaper. He earned first team all-state honors as a senior and was honorable mention as a junior. He completed 60-115 passes for 968 yards and seven TD's as a senior, while rushing 191 times for 1,019 yards and 16 TD's. His career passing totals include 194 completions in 424 attempts for 2,777 yards and 18 TD's. He holds school records for pass attempts, completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense, for single season and career.
Phillips is entering his second Spring ‘season' at Iowa and he is have a great time.
"Oh yeah, he loves it. Every time I talk with him, he tells me how much he enjoys it there," said Tom Sears, Phillips' high school coach. "He feels like his time will come, and that he will get his shot. He says when that time comes, then he has to make the most of it, and that is a great view to take."
Sears acknowledges that both he and Phillips understood that nothing was promised that hard work was going to be the path to playing time.
"They have a lot of talented guys and they are going to have talented guys coming in year after year. But he has a good head on his shoulders and he is a hard worker. I think things will work out for him, whether or not it's this year or further down the road."
Since Phillips signed with Iowa, Hawkeye fans have wondered if a position change might be in his future, given his size. Tight end seems to be the popular speculation, but people said that about Nathan Chandler, Iowa's 6-7, 250-quarterback from the 2003 season, a player that led the Hawkeyes to 10 wins and an Outback Bowl blowout of Florida.
"From what I understand, quarterback is his position. When I have talked to the Iowa coaches, they said that they were pleased with how Cy is progressing at quarterback and that they were looking forward to this spring at getting a better look at him after he is put into the fire a bit more and seeing what he can do." Sears said.
"But for some reason if things don't work out there, I think tight end would be an option, because I don't think it would be a big deal for him to put some weight on with his size. But from my understanding, they are going to keep him at quarterback."
Since he has had a player at Iowa, Sears has paid close attention to the Hawkeyes over the past several seasons and is aware that Iowa has had a three year stretch where their quarterbacks have not missed any time due to injury.
He is also aware that the aforementioned Tate, Manson and McCollom are all at or under 200-pounds.
"As rugged as the Big Ten is, I would think that it might be tough to keep going through season's where just one quarterback stays healthy."
If and when Phillips gets his chance, Sears feels that he will be ready.
"It might take him five years to get on the field. We knew that all along, as far as the process of playing for a Big Ten team. You might get one chance, and if that happens, you have to jump on it."