Of all the players who made verbal commitments to Kentucky prior to the coaching change, Reese Phillips probably had as much reason to be apprehensive as anyone.
Would the Signal Mountain (Tenn.) High School quarterback fit the Wildcats' new system? And even if he did, would the UK staff honor his commitment or be more comfortable pursuing players with whom they had already established strong relationships?
He got those answers this past week, but not before a little more anxiety.
"My high school coach knew before I did," Phillips said. "When he found out, he called me out of class, but I didn't know why. The worst part about it was the walk to the opposite side of the school... A lot of things went through my head. But it was a big relief to hear that he had talked to coach (Neal) Brown, and he had made it clear that they want me up at Kentucky."
Not only does UK want Phillips in the program, the new staff wants him there as soon as possible. He has decided graduate from high school early and enroll at UK on January 7th or 8th. His official visit on Jan. 5 may be one of the quickest turnarounds from visit to enrollment in UK football history.
"Coach Brown said it would really benefit me, not just for football, but academically, getting a head start on that," he said. "I'll have a chance to go through spring practice and learn the system, plus get some classes started.
"I thought it would be a tough decision when I first started thinking about it, but it really made too much sense to pass up the opportunity."
Phillips, who threw for approximately 2,3000 yards as a senior and had a combined 25 touchdowns passing and rushing, is excited about UK's new offense.
"The thing I like the most about it is it's a high-tempo offense that really plays fast," he said. "We try to play fast here at my school, too, so I'm used to it, but this is going to be really fast and exciting for the players and the fans."
Asked what Brown had to pass along to him when they first met in person, Phillips said: "First of all, I didn't realize he was so young. You see pictures and stuff, but it doesn't set in until you meet him and have a chance to talk with him. He's got so much energy. I think that's going to be really cool.
"He talked a lot about the improvements I had made from my junior year to my senior year, which is obvious when you put on my film. I really got a lot better in all aspects of playing the quarterback position.
"He also said he liked my quick release, which is important in his offense because it has a lot of quick passing game to it. And he loved how I threw the deep ball. He said that was probably the most impressive part of my film."
Phillips says he believes he'll be the only quarterback the Wildcats take in the Class of 2013.
Phillips relieved after meeting Brown
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