Phillips checks out Lincoln

One of the top players in the state of Nebraska for 2014 will be Omaha (Nebr.) Millard West defensive end Harrison Phillips. Phillips had a monster year for Millard West as a junior taking a huge step forward from his sophomore year.

Harrison Phillips is an athlete. Make no mistake about it. He will be a D-I football prospect. The 6-foot-4 and 240-pound Harrison from Omaha (Nebr.) Millard West jokingly tried his hand at swimming.

"I had a busy day today," Phillips said. "The swim coach is the youth pastor in our church and I told him that I bet I was better than three-quarters of all the swimmers on the team.

"So today he said to be at school at 7:15 to do the 50m freestyle. So I did it and swam like a 23.8 and that would have qualified me for state. That was the second best time at our school.

"First block of school today I had weight lifting and then after school I had a three hour wrestling practice. Today was something. I lost four and half pounds today."

Phillips wishes his team would have done better overall. Millard West started out slow, but hit their stride in the middle of the season. Phillips had a strong junior year with 115 total tackles (80 unassisted and 35 assisted) including 35 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 16 pass break ups.

"Personally I thought that I did really good. As a team I wish we would have done better. Our offense struggled. We lost three of the first four. We had 10 turnover in the first two games.

"We put together some of the pieces and went on a six game winning streak and ended up at 7-4. I was the only player to play both ways on our team. I played every down except on the games that we were up.

"I thought that I did well defensively. I led the team in unassisted tackles, forced fumbles, sacks, tackles for loss and passes broken up. I blew my numbers from my sophomore year completely out of the water."

It wasn't just Phillips overall stats. Against good teams and great players Phillips was tested by the staff at Millard West. He drew the tough match ups. It was in those games though, where a draw might have been a win, that he really shined individually on the football field.

"Our first game we played against Lincoln (Nebr.) Southeast and lined up over D.J. Foster every single play. That game I played more of a two or a three technique and that was probably my third-best game statistically. I also played shade one technique against a team who had a good center. For the other teams I was either lined up either as a six or seven technique.

"Because of my size I played left tackle. I picked it up pretty easily. I have long arms so that really helped me out. All summer I played tight end and I went to camps playing tight end. From a team standpoint they needed me to play tackle."

Phillips was in Lincoln this past weekend for the Penn State game. This wasn't his first time in Lincoln this season and he's seen some other stadiums to compare Nebraska against. He says that Nebraska comes out on top.

"I was at the Nebraska this past weekend for the Penn State game. I was there once before this year, but I can't remember which game. The first time I was with my parents and the second game I was with a couple of my friends.

"Of all of the stadiums that I have seen Nebraska is up there, number one and Wisconsin isn't too far behind. Lincoln is incredible on game day. You get star struck walking in, seeing all of that red and it's so loud.

"I was just joking around with my friend when the fans were chanting that I couldn't imagine getting down in my stance trying to hear my linebacker make a call. It's a huge reason to come to Nebraska."

Phillips is born and raised in Nebraska. It's his dream to get an offer and play for Nebraska. He's tempered that enthusiasm though because of the high number of in-state players that turn down other offers to walk-on at Nebraska.

"All my life, growing up, it's been my dream to be a Cornhusker. I would love to go there if they offered me a scholarship. That would be incredible. That's the dream."

There are some recruiting trips that Phillips will still make this year. In the spring he says that he will get out and make it to a few junior days that he knows of now and more could pop up. He will also play a third sport this spring for Millard West.

"I still have some recruiting things for this year. I am going up to Iowa State for a practice this week, a game this weekend at South Dakota State and Iowa invited to see the Nebraska game. I am going to go and do junior days at Wisconsin, Arizona State and Nebraska.

"So after wrestling I will do track. I do discus, I was the only sophomore to qualify for state last year, and this year I think that I will do the 800m for conditioning."

Going to college isn't something that Phillips is thinking about a lot right now, but he has some ideas what he's looking for in a school and a team. He is looking for a good balance between both athletics and academics.

"First it's the coaching staff for me. I like to see the coaches in action at the games. I want to pick up on their approach to their players. Another big thing is location. My parents are here and I don't want them to have to drive 11 hours to see me.

"I am also looking at how the program prepares you to play in the pros. I am also focusing on academics. I take pride in my school work. I have a 3.8 GPA."

Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for 10 years covering recruiting and football and has covered Nebraska recruiting for 12 years.
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