"Last year I came in and I thought I was ready, but this year I feel like I am a grown man," Phillips said.
Randy Phillips was a do-it-all type player at Glades Central and was a top safety prospect in 2005.
With the Hurricanes already stacked at safety bringing in Kenny Phillips from Carol City HS and Anthony Reddick started his freshman season. Not to mention Brandon Meriweather was on his way to a breakout season. The University of Miami coaching staff thought it was in the best interest to put Randy at cornerback.
Known as a physical player who liked to make the big hit, he had to adjust to corner.
The talented defensive back made an impact immediately after arriving on campus as he recorded a number of interceptions throughout fall practices.
With his fall performance he avoided the dreaded redshirt status that freshmen want to avoid.
"Physically I was ready to compete last year," said Phillips. "I just had to learn all of the ins and outs of the game and help me get over the edge. This year I think I am a vet."
Although Randy is not a "vet" by many standards, he does have a year under his belt that gives him plenty of confidence. It is that kind of confidence that will help earn him a starting job this season.
Phillips and his teammates have completed their first week of spring practices.
"Things are going good," Randy said. "Guys are practcing with a lot of intensity and flying around real well competing for jobs."
Glenn Sharpe is expected to start at one cornerback position, assuming he is healthy, with three talented rising sophomores competing for the other spot.
"I have been doing real good," said Phillips "I am just doing what my coach asks me to do. I am working on my speed, technique, and all of the little wrinkles I had last year."
The safety position will be another interesting battle in the fall with Reddick returning from injury. Meriweather and Kenny Phillips also return after starting a year ago. All three players have had 70+ tackle seasons in their careers.
Having guys with experience at the safety position "helps a lot", said Phillips. "They have been in a lot of game-time situations. With guys like that around you it is always a plus.
The Miami secondary has had their hands full going up against the receivers and their new-found energy under offensive coordinator Rich Olson, who was hired last month.
"The receivers have a lot more energy and a lot of different routes that they didn't run last year," Phillips said. "Guys are busting their tail out there to compete for a job. There is a lot of intensity on the other side of the ball."
The Hurricanes return to the practice field on Wednesday at 3:20 p.m., but remains closed to the public.
Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org