Freshman DB Having Outstanding Fall

Kenny Phillips has been one of the top performers on the defense this fall. Phillips, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound freshman, is currently the second-team free safety behind sophomore Anthony Reddick.

During Monday's practice Kenny Phillips recorded two interceptions to give him a team-high six interceptions this fall, according to Phillips.

Not a bad way to start your college career.

But that doesn't mean it has been easy.

"It definitely has not been easy," Phillips said. "It has been real hard because you have to know your stuff. I don't know everything just yet, but I know that if I am around the ball good things will happen. That is what I am trying to do and fortunately it has been working out for me."

When Phillips officially reported to the team on August 5 with the other freshmen, he told the media he would lead the team in interceptions. Despite being only a freshman reserve, he has not backed down from those comments.

"I still feel that way, I am not going to back down from that challenge," Phillips said. "I am going to do the best that I can to accomplish that goal. I really said to challenge these other guys on our team to work even harder because nobody wants a freshman to come in and do that."

One of the guys who has been letting Phillips know it won't happen is current first-team strong safety Brandon Meriweather.

"Every day he tells me it won't happen," Phillips said with a smile.

Phillips is currently the second-team free safety behind sophomore Anthony Reddick. Last year as a true freshman, Reddick finished fourth on the team in tackles with 73 and blocked two punts. Phillips is competing for a starting position, but understands the current situation.

"Right now I don't know if I can get that starting spot," Phillips said. "Reddick is doing a good job and as long as he is playing good, I have to respect that. But I am going to work hard and when I have the chance to step in, I am not going to look back."

Although Phillips exudes confidence as a freshman, it wasn't always that way.

"When I first got here it was a reality check," Phillips recalled. "Coming in from high school having a big name, you don't think things will be that hard. It really was, but thanks to these other players they have been helping me out a lot. It has gotten easier every day, but I have to keep working hard."

Phillips, a physical player, has recorded a number of interceptions but is still trying to learn when he can and can't hit on the practice field.

"Right now I still don't know what drills we can hit in and which ones we have to let up on," said an honest Phillips. "It is okay though because I know what I capable of."

Phillips is rooming with fellow freshman defensive back Randy Phillips who is also having a great fall. Randy has five interceptions according to Kenny and the two are 1-2 on the team in that category this fall.

CAROL CITY HIGH SCHOOL

Kenny recalls the long recruiting process up until the very last day. In fact, he admits he wasn't quite sure until it was time to pick the hats between Miami and Tennessee.

"I really didn't know that day," Phillips remembers. "My parents and I talked about the night before and decided I would go to Miami. When I got up there to make my choice, I was like, 'oh man, what do I really want to do?.'"

He has been a Hurricane for a short time, but has not looked back on that day.

"I feel that I have made the right decision," Phillips said.

His final season at Carol City was a bit different than the year before when they won the Florida Class 6A State Championship.

"It was really hard for me because we had a lot of big names the year before and it was kind of easy for me because all I had to do was do my job," Phillips said. "When I was a senior I found myself trying to pick up the slack for other people. Every day my coach would tell me I wouldn't have to do their jobs. But it was hard for me because I was seeing things and I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team."

Five current Hurricanes played their high school ball at Carol City, which is the most on the team. Phillips along with Sinorice Moss, Glenn Sharpe, Eric Moncur, and Willie Williams played at Carol City.

"It is great having these guys here," Phillips said. "It is a beautiful feeling seeing guys that you played with in high school that have been through the same things you have been through."

One of Carol City's biggest rivals is Northwestern, which features current Hurricanes Khalil Jones, Romeo Davis, and Chris Barney. The players still have a playful rivalry with each other.

"We will always mess with them and we are always joking around," Phillips said.

SEASON OPENER

Miami begins the 2005 season at Florida State on September 5. Phillips is hoping to play in the game.

"I am praying," Phillips said. "If I have to play on special teams, I will. But I do want to play in the secondary. It is Florida State-Miami, the biggest game of the season and do want to be on the defense to help my team out."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com


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