No. 11 defensive tackle Jordan Phillips
Phillips nearly did a back-flip when he woke up from surgery on his back during the offseason and didn’t feel pain.
He never felt like he wasn’t 100 percent during the early part of the season, and he made it through the entire season without a serious injury – an achievement in itself.
As far as the OU 11 is concerned, Phillips came out of the gate hard. He finished first in the Sooners’ season-opening victory against Louisiana Tech, showing his explosion and talent in the process.
He made the OU 11 three times in the first three weeks and then just three weeks after that. It wasn’t that Phillips started playing poorly against tougher teams, but he was easily taken out of the game by scheme – especially when teams started using wide splits on the offensive line.
Phillips finished with two sacks and seven sacks from the nose tackle spot in a 3-4. He is even considered as a potential first-round pick in the NFL Draft after his season.
He utilized his athleticism and a key part of his arsenal to do it.
“Without your hands, you’re not a good player as a defensive lineman,” Phillips said. “They’re weapons pretty much, if you don’t know how to use them, you’re going to get beat every play.” Phillips’ best play of the season didn’t even go down in the stat sheet. He returned a fumble for the first time in his career, only to watch it get called back after a penalty.