Junior to Watch - LB, Phillip Dillard

If you start for the Jenks high school football team, we can assume one thing to be completely accurate. Winning state titles is boring. Ok, not boring, but when you've won 7 out of the last 8, redundant comes to mind. It takes a lot of things to be that consistent at winning. One factor are players. Great players. And lots of them. Let's meet one.

At right around 6'2" and 240 lbs., there's no "tweener" in Phillip Dillard. He's a pure-unadulterated middle linebacker, relishing everything that goes into that position.

You have to be a QB on the defense, the middle linebacker often bearing the responsibility for reading the offense as it sets up at the line of scrimmage. You have to be fast, the position necessitating that you be prepared to go from side-line to side-line at a moment's notice. Oh, and it doesn't hurt if you are crazy to boot.

Phillip just acknowledges the funnest facet for him as he laughs almost eerily. "I hate the guy on the other side of the ball." Phillip said. "You have to hate him no matter who he is. Your brother, your sister, whoever, if you have the ball, there's no way I am not going to try and put you down."

Dillard did that to the opponents last year to the tune of 102 tackles, also forcing 2 fumbles and grabbing one interception.

40: 4.65 hh
Bench: 365 
Squat:  450
GPA:    2.5

Phillip did want to reiterate however that statistics don't intimidate, players do. "Every play you make out there is a message." he said. "Do you want them to think they can run right at you? When you hit 'em, you have to make them never want to see you again."

With Dillard's team, outside of Union high school (the team that won the state title two years ago), it's doubtful that most want to see him or his entire team anytime soon. Well, other than the colleges looking for some of the better players around the country.

As for them, the list of universities is long and bound to get longer, Dillard sitting on two offers currently (Nebraska and Texas A&M), anticipating another coming soon (Oklahoma State) and oh those letters. "I don't know how many there are." Phillip said. "I stopped counting."

There is the usual plot here though when it comes to a starter for Jenks and it has nothing to do with Jenks so much as to it's location.

Like every other star-athlete in the state of Oklahoma, the expectations (in some cases, demands) are that they are destined to be a Sooner, even if they haven't realized it just yet. Phillip acknowledged his affection for the state religion, but said that he's not any sort of "sure-thing" for the Sooners. "Oklahoma is up there, no doubt, but I'm keeping all my options open." he said. "There's a lot of great schools out there and I am not just looking for a school, but the right situation."

"If they have good facilities, coaches, a good tradition and good academics, that's probably a school I'll be looking at down the line, no matter where it's at."

As to any current favorites, the answer was obvious even in light of his two current offers. "Lots of time." Dillard stated about the process. "I have lots of time to think about that, but most of what I think about now is just doing better my last year of high school."

Maybe he wants to win another state title? Yeah, ok, sure, why not. Another state title.

Ho hum.

Phillip stated that he's been invited to the NIKE combine in Georgia, but isn't sure as to any other camps or unofficial visits he might make.

Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619

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