Although the Wildcat coaching staff was ecstatic to bring in Curtis Pulley this past February, the empty feeling left by the loss of Bill Stull still loomed during signing day. After touting the necessity for two quarterbacks all season, the fact the coaching staff came up with just one, was seen as somewhat of a disappointment.
But Coach Brooks and the staff have made it a point to not dwell on the loss and have continued to forge ahead into the deep 2006 class of talented quarterbacks. Earlier this week the Wildcats offered their third gunslinger to date in Columbia (SC)'s B.J. Phillips.
"B.J.'s a very physical kid," Spring Valley High School coach Jimmy Noonan said. "He's got all the tools to be a big time quarterback. He's right at 6'6 and 230 pounds right now, but he was our team's leading rusher from a year ago, so he's not your typical big quarterback. He ran a 4.78 at the Nike camp last year, so that gives you an idea of what type of athlete he is."
Phillips' size is not the only thing that doesn't mirror a quarterback, Noonan says that Phillips mentality gives him another edge. "B.J.'s mentality is of a fullback or a linebacker, he just loves to hit and loves contact," Noonan continued. "He's just a huge competitor, who loves the game and understands the game."
Phillips completed just 103-of-229 passes (45%) for over 1300 yards while leading six scoring drives against six interceptions this past year for Spring Valley High School, but while those numbers don't compare to other top flight quarterbacks, perhaps they don't tell the complete story. "We had over 60 dropped passes this year," sighed Noonan. "We were going all over the place trying to find players to catch the ball."
Currently Phillips boasts offers from Maryland and Rutgers, in addition to the Wildcats. Maryland might be seen as somewhat of an early favorite because of the playing time available in College Park, but coach Noonan insisted that while there may be opportunities available for Phillips to play early, it won't be apart of his decision making process.
"It won't be a major part of his decision at all," Noonan answered. "He knows what the game is all about and he knows he might have to sit and wait his turn. He knows he is going have to compete anywhere he goes."
B.J. is a 4.0 student and will have no trouble qualifying academically. He's looking to camp at Maryland this summer and will be attending all the local and national combines this spring. His coach feels he'll take all of his visits and will wait out the process, thus ruling out a possible early decision.
"We've had a lot of very talented kids come out of here of late," Noonan contended, "but it's always been a player here or a player there that we really needed. 4A ball is very difficult (in South Carolina) and we're leaning on B.J. this year to really make plays and make things happen. We're gonna have a very young offensive line returning and a loaded schedule to contend with. We're gonna need a lot of intangibles that will have to come into play for us to compete for a state championship."
Cats offer 'big' SC quarterback
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