"Kalif is one of the best running backs I've had—and I had some real good ones at [Matthews] Butler," Brown head coach Mike Newsome said. "He has the total package. He's not as big as some college coaches may want to see, but he's as big as guys I've seen play on Saturdays – and he's going to get bigger. He's a hard worker in the weight room, so he's going to get bigger, he's going to get faster. But he has the speed, he has the moves to make people miss, he has the power to run over people when he needs to."
In his first season in Newsome's unique offense, Phillips started at tailback, accumulating 1,632 yards and 11 touchdowns on 174 carries and 20 receptions for 371 yards and three more scores.
"Most of those [touchdowns] were beyond 50 yards," Newsome said. "He was phenomenal this year being able to find a hole or make a hole and be able to run away from people."
Phillips was an integral part of the offense throughout the season, but was counted on more when North Carolina signee Damien Washington missed several games with an injury.
"I knew I had to step up since Damien was one of our star players," Phillips said. "I knew we needed somebody to just help out the team and I wanted to be that person."
Phillips is receiving interest from schools throughout the region, particularly Clemson, East Carolina, UNC, and Virginia Tech.
"I think it's only a matter time for him before he gets offer after offer after offer," Newsome said.
Last Wednesday, Phillips made his first recruiting visit of the spring, attending UNC's basketball game against Duke.
"It went good," Phillips said. "I had a lot of fun. We went to the game and ate. I liked the locker rooms and the uniforms that we get and the new helmets and the weight room."
Heading into the visit, Phillips was wide open. But, he left Chapel Hill favoring UNC.
"It makes me want to go there," Phillips said. "I like how they're trying to get their team together to try to win games. I'm not sure, but it is making me want to go there."
During the visit, the UNC coaching staff discussed the status of a possible scholarship with Phillips.
"They said they would offer me, but I don't have the grades right now," Phillips said. "But I'm getting them. They said they would love to offer me, because they're trying to get the people from the same schools so that they'll know each other."
The UNC coaching staff also talked about how Phillips would be used within its one-back spread offense.
"They said I would fit in at the slot running back," Phillips said. "I think it's call the A-back. It would be good for me, because I could play all over the field and people would have to worry about me doing different things – catching, running, blocking."
Newsome believes Phillips would be a perfect fit for that role.
"He has great hands and great ball skills," Newsome said. "So in these spread offenses where they're taking running backs and putting them at slot receiver and going empty without changing personnel groups he's a great fit. I think he has a skill set that a lot of running backs don't have with being a receiver."
Phillips runs track for Brown, participating in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and 4x100 and 4x200 relays… In the past two recruiting classes, UNC has signed a Brown alumnus (Washington in 2012 and Travis Riley in 2011).