When it comes to skill positions, the first question raised by every fan and most reporters is, "Can you please give me their forty time?" While I did not go in that path with Coach McDaniels, I did ask about Mike's speed, and I was quickly able to find a case where a forty time is indeed overrated.
"I'm an honest coach, and I'm going to tell you straight up that Mike is consistently in the 4.6 range when being tested," Coach McDaniels said. "We have our kids run the forty three times, and then take the average. Mike is not a burner and isn't going to win you over with his speed, but he is a heckuva player."
Coach McDaniels, who has coached current Ohio State SS Mike Doss and Pittsburgh CB Shaun Robinson at Warren G. Harding, knows a good defensive back. I asked Coach McDaniels to compare Mike to both recent DB's to pass through Harding.
"Mike Doss is another guy that would not thrill you with his speed, but look what he has accomplished at Ohio State. Techinically, Mike is very good as he has great feet and can press receivers. When a receiver is able to get by, he has also good hips in the ability to turn and has great ball skills. Those qualities are more important than a forty time."
While those statements are impressive enough coming from a coach with the track record of Thom McDaniels, he saved the best for last.
"The best thing about Mike is his drive. He is very competitive and confident. In man-to-man coverage, you are always going to get beat once in a while, but the great ones always come back ready to make a play. Mike shares that same attribute and holds a lot of confidence in his ability."
"Take for instance this fall, Ohio State commit Tony Gonzalez said Mike was the best cornerback he faced after he was shut-out with no catches. Mike also contained Ohio State commit Devin Jordan for only two catches in the combined two games we played them this fall."
HTO.com asked Coach McDaniels, after seeing many previous reports on Mike not listing Iowa, on whether Iowa's success this season is what triggered this visit?
"Winning certainly did not hurt their case. However, I believe it was their recruiting efforts that really impacted his thinking. I know Coach (Ken) O'Keefe has done a great job being in consistent communication with me throughout the season. I'm sure he was the same with Mike. I got the feeling they were very high on Mike, and that is certainly one of their top priorities."
So does Iowa hold an edge to possibly gain a commitment?
"I do not expect Mike to go in their to commit this weekend. His family and the (Shaun) Robinson family are very close so I expect he will honor his visit to Pittsburgh. He is a very good PG on the basketball team, also, so that may impact his January visits, but I know he has talked about visiting the other schools on his list."
Lastly, is Mike's position set at cornerback or has Iowa given any thought to playing him elsewhere?
"Mike is being recruited as a cornerback, and I expect that he will stay there. However, I do know that he could easily make the transition to safety, and be a fine player there also."
In most cases, actions speak louder than words, and that seems to be the case with Mike Philllips. HTO.com will keep you informed on how his visit goes this weekend!