"That's what our program needed. Coach Brooks got an extension and for our program to continue to grow, we needed that continuity coaching staff-wise. So people now can see we have a bright future," Woodyard said during the Senior Day practice in Mobile, Ala.
Woodyard came to Kentucky mainly because of Phillips' recruiting.
"He is a persuasive man in a good way. Everyone believes in him and people love him. To have a head coach like that in the future is going to say a lot for our program. It's going to be a lot of fun and everybody is going to be willing to lay everything on the line for him," Woodyard said.
Running back Rafael Little is also at the Senior Bowl. Like Woodyard, he's mainly at Kentucky because of Phillips.
"When I heard about it, I couldn't believe it. I didn't know coach Brooks was even thinking about leaving one day after we did. This is huge for Joker. Joker recruited me hard and made me come," Little said. "He will make a good head coach. Look at what he did with our offense the last two years. He will do a great job as a head coach when his time comes.
"He will be on them. They just have to know it is coming and be ready for it."
Quarterback Andre Woodson was in Orlando training for the Senior Bowl and upcoming NFL Combine when the news came. He was just as happy as Woodyard and Little.
"Coach Brooks has done a wonderful job rebuilding the program and when it is all said and done, he feels like it is time to pass it on to someone he knows will keep the program going and has his heart into the program," Woodson said. "Obviously, those guys mean the world to you and the university and the community. I think it is great to pass it on to someone who has been there and been through the fire and knows what it takes to be successful. Coach Joker will do great."
Put Jacob Tamme, UK's other player in the Senior Bowl, on the Joker bandwagon as well.
" I was excited. I watched the press conference on the internet (from Florida) and was getting choked up when coach Joker got choked up. He was talking about what Kentucky meant to him. As a player you could not necessarily see it coming, but you knew coach Phillips had it in him to be the head coach. It's a great thing for him, but it is also a great thing for the program," Tamme said.